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April 2023 Tax Investigation Round Up

April's round up of the latest tax investigation news and cases:

  • Man jailed after £2.5m tax fraud
  • Consultancy firm boss jailed for £1.1m VAT evasion
  • UK's most wanted tax fugitive is jailed

Man jailed after £2.5m tax fraud

Over a five year period, Ian Jordan, a shopfitter from Bournemouth, was jailed for six years for evading more than £2.5m in tax fraud.

At a hearing on 16 March 2023 at Bournemouth Crown Court, Jordan was sentenced to six years and three months imprisonment. This was after he had evaded £2,512,800 in VAT and corporation tax.

Jordan had his own company which went bankrupt in March 2021. He was the sole director and shareholder of Jordan Decorative Shop Fitting Ltd. Reports revealed that he owed the company £1.49m in an outstanding director’s loan.

From January 2012 and March 2017, Jordan submitted inaccurate VAT invoices amounting to over £682,800, with corporation tax evaded  totaling around £1.83m.

He used this money on himself, buying expensive jewelery, lavish holidays, making home improvements, paying mortgages and buying luxury cars.

Michael Oatley, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) unit head, commented: ‘Ian Jordan deliberately created false purchase invoices and accounting records and he rightly now faces justice for his criminal actions.

‘The CPS has now begun confiscation proceedings to recover the monies cheated from the UK taxpayer.’

Richard Wilkinson, assistant director in HMRC’s fraud investigation service, said: ‘No crime is victimless. Tax crime robs our vital public services of much needed funds and can fuel a raft of other illegal activity that harms communities.

‘HMRC is on the side of the law-abiding majority and will pursue the small minority who think they can steal the money that funds our public services like schools and the NHS.’

Consultancy firm boss jailed for £1.1m VAT evasion

Ian Andrew Duggua, from the Isle of Man, has been jailed for more than three years, after evading more than £1.1m in VAT payments since 2015.

Evidence showed that Duggua had created false invoices and moved money between three separate companies, Lavatec, Technocrats and Meddon, all managed under CLW Management.

Firstly, he committed the fraud to pay off a debt with the Canadian tax authority. Following this, he used the money for personal use such as family holidays and children’s university fees.

Judge Graeme Cook, speaking in court, said his actions were ‘planned’ and ‘sophisticated’ in order to fund his ‘lavish lifestyle.’ The series of frauds had ‘denied the Isle of Man £1.1m.’

Since his arrest, his defence has said that Duggua has suffered a ‘double stroke’ which ‘was likely caused by the stress’ and that he was ‘remorseful’ and ‘embarrassed.’

UK's most wanted tax fugitive is jailed

Sarah Panitzke, 48, had a £2.4 million confiscation order made against her while she was on the run. She failed to pay it.

She was extradited back to the UK by HM Revenue and Customs in June last year. She was sentenced to eight years in jail.

Following this, Panitzke has been given another nine years in jail regarding the non-payment of the confiscation order. She will still be required to pay this, plus interest when she is released.

Nicol Sheppard, assistant director, fraud investigation service, HMRC, commented: “Our work doesn’t stop at conviction – we always look to recover the proceeds of crime.

“Panitzke was part of a criminal gang that stole millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money and deprived our public services of vital funding. She failed to repay the money she stole and now faces even more time behind bars, and still owes the money.

“We encourage anyone who has information about a tax crime to report it to HMRC online. Search ‘Report Fraud HMRC’ on GOV.UK and complete our online form.”

The original fee of the confiscation order was granted in 2016 for £2,455,913. The amount that she owes has grown with interest, by 54 percent to £3,782,799.

Panitzke played a large role in a sophisticated multi-million pound fraud, she laundered large amounts of stolen money through offshore bank accounts. A complex web of transactions were found by HMRC, stolen money was found in various accounts in the UK, Andorra, Dubai, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Portugal and the US. the gang claimed to be importing and selling mobile phones.

Panitzke ran to Spain during her trial in 2013. She was sentenced in her absence for eight years in prison. In February, last year she was arrested. It was believed that she was hiding in Andorra and Spain for the last nine years.

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