"This was a sustained attempt to steal taxpayers' money."
Chaudhry Akbar, aged 50, of Fairfields Road, Manchester, was jailed for 18 months on Monday, January 21, 2019, at Manchester Crown Court after stealing more than £250,000 in VAT repayments.
An investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) revealed he used his two waste management businesses to fraudulently claim the money through VAT repayments.
It was heard Akbar had submitted 36 fraudulent invoices over a period between June 2013 and November 2015 while he was working as the director of Manchester-based companies Thermal Power Ltd and Hyder Engineering (UK) Ltd.
According to Companies House, the nature of business for Thermal Power Ltd was remediation activities and other waste management services.
Meanwhile, Hyder Engineering (UK) Ltd’s operations were focused on the recovery of sorted materials.
The court heard that Akbar forged paperwork by making up business purchases for heavy machinery and goods.
He then laundered the cash in an attempt to avoid being detected by HMRC fraud investigators.
HMRC investigators found Akbar passed the stolen money through a number of bank accounts in an attempt to hide the cash.
It was found that the businessman fraudulently claimed a total of £253,426 between June 2013 and November 2015 through this method.
Akbar was arrested and charged with VAT fraud and money laundering.
Tim Atkins, of the HMRC Fraud Investigation Service, said: “This was a sustained attempt to steal taxpayers’ money and Akbar was shameless in his greed.
“He told lie after lie to line his own pockets and then tried to launder the cash so it couldn’t be traced back to him.”
On January 9, 2018, Akbar pleaded guilty to three counts of VAT fraud and money laundering at Manchester Crown Court.
Both of his companies, which provided engineering and waste management services, were liquidated in August 2016.
Mr Atkins added: “VAT fraud steals money from vital public services such as schools and hospitals, this money is the equivalent to the wages of ten newly qualified paramedics.”
Chaudhry Akbar was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Information about any type of tax fraud can be reported to HMRC online. You can report someone if you think they are evading tax.
For example, they are not telling HMRC about the tax they owe, they are keeping their business “off the books” by dealing in cash and not giving receipts or if they are hiding money in an offshore bank account.
Alternatively, you can contact the HMRC fraud hotline on 0800 788 887.