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Blackburn fuel fraudster jailed

Press Release   •   Feb 10, 2016 17:59 GMT

A Blackburn petrol station owner has been jailed for evading almost £200,000 in tax by selling hundreds of thousands of litres of illegal diesel to unsuspecting motorists.

Nawaz Jan Virmani, 52, trading as Shadsworth Road Service Station was caught by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers with 2,843 litres of illegal laundered diesel stored at his filling station in June 2013.

An investigation into his business records revealed fake invoices for 212,450 litres of fuel and no legitimate paperwork for a further 126,791 litres.

Sandra Smith, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:

“Virmani duped his customers into thinking that they were buying legitimate fuel, but instead he was selling laundered diesel without paying excise duty to HMRC.

“Fuel fraud costs millions of pounds in lost duty every year, meaningthe public lose out on vital funds for essential services, and it creates an uneven playing field for honest businesses. Anyone with information about this type of activity should contact the Customs’ Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

On Tuesday (9 February 2016), Virmani was jailed for 16 months for the fuel fraud at Preston Crown Court. Confiscation proceedings are now underway to reclaim Virmani’s criminal profits.

Notes for editors

1.Nawaz Jan Virmani, DOB 24/03/63, of Shadsworth Road, Blackburn, Lancashire, trading as Shadsworth Road Service Station at the same address, was sentenced at Preston Crown Court yesterday after pleading guilty to one count of being knowingly involved in the fraudulent evasion of excise duty on 4 January 2016.

2.Virmani admitted that he had falsified invoices for the fuel to evade UK Excise Duty, conceal the existence of the laundered fuel. He pleaded guilty to £198,237 tax evasion in relation to the fuel offence. A separate charge of evading £46,901 in VAT will remain on his file.

3.The HMRC Oils Strategy consists of a range of measures to crack down on fraud, aimed at making it harder for criminals to obtain rebated fuels (for example with the Registered Dealers in Controlled Oils (RDCO) scheme), and ensure those caught misusing fuel face tough penalties.

4.Laundered fuel is red (or green) diesel, which has been filtered through chemicals or acids to remove the Government marker. The chemicals and acids remain in the fuel and damage fuel pumps in diesel cars.

5.HMRC’s Road Fuel Testing Unit conducted tests of the fuel for sale at the service station and identified 2,843 litres of laundered UK marked rebated gas oil and laundered UK rebated kerosene.

6.Anyone with information regarding fraud is encouraged to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000 or report it online via: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/reportingfraud/online.htm

7.Follow HMRC Press Office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice

8.HMRC's Flickr channel: www.flickr.com/hmrcgovuk

Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is the UK’s tax authority.

HMRC is responsible for making sure that the money is available to fund the UK’s public services and for helping families and individuals with targeted financial support.