4 sentenced for VAT fraud
Vehicles adapted for disabled
4 people, including a man from Kirkby,
where sentenced on 14 July 2017, at Manchester Crown Court for conspiracy to
evade over ₤900,000 in VAT.
In a complex operation led by Merseyside Police, part of which centred on an
investigation in to Tax fraud, the disabled defendants abused an HMRC policy,
which exempts them from paying VAT if the vehicle has undergone a substantial
adaptation for their personal use.
The prosecution is thought to be 1 of the 1st of its kind in the country and
follows a long term investigation by detectives from Merseyside Police and
Prosecutors from the Serious Fraud Office, in Manchester.
Officers established that the defendants were part of a significant fraud
whereby the vehicles bought under the Zero Rated VVAT Scheme were immediately
sold on to non disabled people at a significant profit.
The enquiry found that more than 120 vehicles were involved, at a total cost of
more than ₤5million.
The vehicles bought included:- Porsches, Range Rovers, Bentleys and Audis; all
high specification, luxury vehicles.
Detective Chief Inspector John Webster from Merseyside Police said:- "By
evading paying VAT, the scheme deprived the exchequer of much-needed money. It
involved the transfer of millions of pounds through the defendants' personal
bank accounts and those of associated businesses. As well as evading paying VAT,
their crimes generated more than ₤370,000 once the cars had been sold on."
Ray Gordon, 57, from Kirkby, bought 52 cars, costing around ₤2,590,000, evading
₤458,000 VAT. Gordon was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Margaret Lunt, 68, from Chester, bought 19 cars, at a cost of around ₤714,000
evading ₤120,000 VAT. Lunt was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for 2
Arthur Jackson, 62, from Sale, bought 12 cars whose total cost was around
₤769,000 evading ₤135,000 VAT. Jackson was sentenced to 8 months in prison
suspended for 2 years.
Martin Burke, 51, from Poynton, Greater Manchester, bought 8 cars costing around
₤305,000 evading ₤52,000 VAT. Burke was sentenced to 6 months in prison
suspended for 2 years.
DCI Webster added:- "These sentences send out a clear and unambiguous
message that the courts will view Tax and VAT fraud as very serious crimes. Our
investigations into the organised crime gang behind this fraud will continue.
I'd like to congratulate my team for their hard work in disentangling what was a
complicated case. We followed the evidence and have broken up what was a