14 arrested as HMRC swoop on fraudsters

Accountants may be interested to read about a joint HMRC and police raid in which 14 people were arrested in London and Northern Ireland.

Those arrested are suspected of being involved in a £15 million money laundering, VAT and income tax fraud in the construction sector.

12 men and one woman were arrested in Northern Ireland in what was described as the largest operation of its kind. HMRC, with the help of officers from the PSNI, searched a total of 31 residential and business properties in Belfast, Co Antrim, Co Armagh and Co Londonderry. The other arrest took place after a home and two businesses in Stoke Newington were raided.

HMRC said it believed that an organised gang had created a network of companies that claimed to sub-contract workers for construction projects, solely with the intention of vanishing without paying tax.

John Whiting, the assistant director of criminal investigation at the Revenue, said the gang organised a sophisticated multi-million pound VAT and income tax fraud and then laundered the profits. Millions of pounds of taxpayer’s money has been stolen in this way and combating this type of fraudulent activity is top of the list of priorities for HMRC.

He went on to say that the Revenue will continue to pursue criminals who attack the public purse through fraudulent activities.

HMRC interviewed all of the suspects and further investigations into the fraud are ongoing.

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