Rakesh Sidhpara was “thoroughly dishonest”
Accountant, Rakesh Sidhpara, aged 35, who lived a lavish and luxurious lifestyle from conducting a VAT fraud of £400,000 has been jailed.
Sidhpara went on an illegal spree to claim over 100 fraudulent VAT repayments using hijacked businesses and fake companies.
The fraudulent VAT repayments were paid into various bank accounts. Some of them were in his name and others in the name of his wife, Ritu Sidhpara. She helped him launder over £80,000.
He then used the money to fuel his lavish lifestyle with his wife.
Sidhpara from Sutton Coldfield bought an expensive home, went on “dozens” of holidays between 2010 and 2013 with trips to India, Dubai, Mexico and USA, and leased a high-end Mercedes car.
However, when HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) became suspicious of his activities, the couple fled the UK. They began living in Cyprus.
32-year-old Ritu returned to the UK sometime later in September 2018 and was arrested.
Ritu was jailed for 23 months on January 28, 2019, for her role in money laundering.
Knowing that his wife had been jailed, Rakesh submitted a fake five-page medical report related to kidney stones to UK authorities, saying he could not attend his trial in September 2018 due to the illness.
As reported by Birmingham Live, he sent emails to the judge as well, regarding his inability to attend the trial.
However, an HMRC official managed to prove that the medical report submitted by Sidhpara was fraudulent by reviewing and investigating the stamp and signature on the document.
Pressure on Sidhpara to return to the UK mounted and he came back to face justice.
A three-week trial led to him pleading guilty to the VAT fraud he committed for three years.
This resulted in a jail sentence of five-and-a-half years in December 2018.
In a second hearing on Thursday, February 28, 2019, at Birmingham Crown Court, Rakesh Sidhpara admitted that he had attempted to pervert the course of justice. For this, he was handed another year in jail.
Sentencing him, Judge Richard Bond QC said that Rakesh Sidhpara was “thoroughly dishonest” and “a conman” who was the “controlling mind of the fraud”.
When Ritu Sidhpara was sentenced, the judge said:
“Ritu Sidhpara returned to the UK in September.”
“She sat in the dock knowing a completely false medical report had been handed over.”
“Rakesh Sidhpara almost got away with it, but enquiries revealed the report was utterly false from start to finish.
“Photos from the defendant’s Facebook page demonstrate that Ritu Sidhpara was, from 2010 until 2013, living a lifestyle that was far beyond that of an ordinary human being.”
Both husband and wife are now in jail sentenced for their VAT scam and money laundering crimes.