"These men were stealing and laundering money"
Two brothers, Shapal Yaqoob, aged 35 and Efzal Yaqoob, aged 34, have both been sentenced for committing nearly £175,000 tax fraud.
The tax evasion, fraud and money laundering were conducted while the younger brother, Efzal, actually worked at a Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) call centre, as an adviser.
The elder brother Shapal from Bingley in West Yorkshire owned a car sales company called Evolution Cars. The business was run from his home and through it, he sold cars using online auction websites.
Shapal used this business to submit false information to the HMRC in order to steal £174,500 in Value Added Tax (VAT).
During the tax investigation by the HMRC, it was found that between February 2008 and May 2015, Shapal had under-declared earnings from the car business so that he could avoid having to pay VAT for that period.
Shapal had lied to the HMRC about his earnings which also resulted in him evading to pay income tax of about £7,000.
Efzal who was working at the HMRC call centre had worked at the tax office for nine years. He helped his brother to launder £21,630 of the money to evade the tax.
To launder the stolen money, Efzal used his personal bank account. Between July 2012 and August 2014, he put the money in his account.
Efzal was arrested in June 2015 and resigned three months after from his HMRC job.
On December 1, 2017, at a hearing at Bradford Crown Court, Shapal, the car business owner, admitted that he had committed VAT and income tax fraud.
On July 15, 2019, at Bradford Crown Court, Shapal was sentenced 22 months in prison, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to do 300 hours of unpaid work.
On April 26, 2019, at a Bradford Crown Court hearing, Efzal admitted to money laundering. He was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for 18 months and was told to do 150 hours of unpaid work, reported The Telegraph & Argus.
The assistant director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, Eden Noblett said about the case:
“These men were stealing and laundering money which should have been funding public services.
“This is theft from the taxpayer and undermines legitimate traders.”
“There is no question Efzal should have known better than to think he could get away with laundering stolen money.
“We will continue to pursue criminals who think tax fraud is acceptable.”