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Gang's £2.3m scam highlighted by taxman
A SOUTHAMPTON-based gang who attempted to fleece the taxpayer out of £2.3m were among almost 700 tax cheats who were successfully prosecuted across the country this year, it was revealed today.
The frauds featured in the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) top five tax cheat convictions of 2013 after the gang members were sentenced to 22 years in prison.
As reported by the Daily Echo, the gang managed to get away with almost £560,000 before they were caught.
Their scam involved stealing the identities of 3,000 people after setting up a “fraud factory” using scores of revenue and customs documents in different names.
The four men played different roles in the fraud against HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) by submitting false self assessment tax repayment claims using stolen and hijacked identities.
The gang stole the identities of people who answered their classified adverts offering the possibility of work, and also created identities based on contact details found in other classified notices.
Those whose identities were hijacked were mainly Polish people living in the UK.
One of the gang, Lyubomyr Sytaiylo, had been a tax agent who lived in Sandbanks – one of Britain’s most exclusive areas.
Southampton Crown Court heard how the true extent of the fraud and the number of identities stolen may never be known but it is estimated that the gang carried out at least 1,300 separate attacks on HMRC, the type and nature of which had never before been seen by the institution.
Sytaiylo, 39, from London, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years for conspiring to cheat the Revenue. Ruslanas Bobrovas, 37, of The Birches, Southampton, was jailed for six-and-a-half years after admitting the cheating charge.
Besik Zveiba, 42, of Kent Street, Southampton was convicted of conspiring to cheat HMRC and jailed for four-and-a-half years.
Kardo Anderson, 26, of Mansel Road East, Millbrook, was convicted of conspiring to cheat HMRC and pleaded guilty to possessing a false identity document with intent and possessing bank cards in connection with fraud. He was given a four-year term.
Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke said: “The Government is determined to make sure people pay the tax they owe and HMRC will come down hard on those who try to cheat the system.
“Honest taxpayers will be pleased that these fraudsters are now paying for their crimes.
“We have invested nearly £1 billion in HMRC to tackle those who fail to play by the rules, and today’s figures clearly demonstrate that investment is paying off.”
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