A poker champion has been stripped of tournament prize-money for a second time to repay money he stole in a tax fraud.
Adam Lulat, of Hawkhurst Road, Preston, was jailed for 28 months in 2015 for his involvement in a £40 million money laundering scam and a major pan-European VAT fraud, after an HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation.
Lulat was ordered to repay £68,930 in August 2018, after topping a tournament in Manchester and HMRC has now stripped him of prize-money for a second time after he won another major poker competition.
The 27-year-old was ordered to hand over a further £30,200 prize money within three months or face 18 months in jail, at a confiscation hearing at Manchester Crown Court on Wednesday 20 March 2019.
Debbie Porter, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
“Lulat may have hoped that his win would go under the table, but once again we had an ace up our sleeve and it is HMRC cashing in his chips.
“This sends a clear message that HMRC will relentlessly pursue criminals for their ill-gotten gains. Anyone with information about tax fraud should contact HMRC online or call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”
Lulat was part of a six man crime gang jailed for a total of 25 years and ten months, and ordered to repay £590,000. He was originally made to repay a nominal £1 due to a lack of assets.
HMRC discovered Lulat was a part of the gang that worked for other crime groups moving approximately £40 million of criminal cash through multiple bank accounts in the UK and other countries between 1 September 2010 and 30 November 2011.
They were also behind a separate VAT fraud and HMRC investigators tracked their activities across Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. They fabricated businesses to make fraudulent VAT repayment claims against multiple EU member states using a complex web of transactions.
Co-ordinated action with European enforcement agencies exposed the gang’s use of bank accounts and money service bureaux to launder the money across borders before the cash was withdrawn for the gang to pocket.
Notes to Editors
1. Adam Elyas Lulat, DOB 04/12/91, of Hawkhurst Road, Preston, pleaded guilty to money laundering and was jailed for 28 months in September 2015. At a subsequent confiscation hearing he was found to have benefited from his criminal conduct in the sum of £237,449. Initially no assets could be identified and a nominal £1 confiscation order was made. On 6August 2018 the original £1 confiscation order was increased at Manchester Crown Court to the sum of £71,770. On 20 March 2019 this was further increased at Manchester Crown Court by another £30,200.
2. There is no appeal against default jail sentences issued in confiscation orders and the order for repayment remains in place after the default sentence is served by the fraudster. If the assets held by the convicted criminal at the time of the order are less than the benefit derived from the fraud, then any future assets can be confiscated up to the value of the benefit of the fraud.
3. Anyone with information regarding fraud can contact the new HMRC Fraud hotline on 0800 788 887 or report it online via: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/reportingfraud/online.htm
4. Follow HMRC’s Press Office on Twitter @hmrcpressoffice
5. HMRC’s Flickr channel www.flickr.com/hmrcgovuk