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Blackburn fuel fraudster payback time

Press Release   •   Aug 08, 2017 13:31 BST

HMRC closed the pump down in Blackburn

A Blackburn petrol station owner, who was jailed for selling hundreds of thousands of litres of illegal diesel to unsuspecting motorists, has been ordered to repay £133,660 in stolen taxes.

Nawaz Jan Virmani, 54, was caught by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers with 2,843 litres of illegal laundered diesel stored at his Shadsworth Road Service Station in June 2013.

Yesterday, he was ordered to pay back the money within three months, or face a further 15 months in jail.

Debbie Porter, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:

“Virmani was jailed for a serious tax fraud and now he has been stripped of everything he has. He is paying the price for trading illegally. We are committed to creating a level playing field for all businesses and stop criminals from undermining the UK economy.

“HMRC is determined to recover money stolen from UK taxpayers. Public funds are crucially important so if you suspect someone of tax fraud report it on 0800 788 887 and help us.”

The court ruled Virmani benefited by £247,590.57 from the fraud and ordered the confiscation of his current assets worth £133,660.41. These include property he part owns, the petrol station, a stake in another business and shares in Rolls Royce.

A HMRC investigation into his business records revealed fake invoices for 212,450 litres of fuel and no legitimate paperwork for a further 126,791 litres. In February 2016, Virmani was jailed for 16 months for the fuel fraud.

Notes for editors

1.  Details of the confiscation order issued on 7 August 2017 at Preston Crown Court: Nawaz Jan Virmani, DOB 24/03/63, of Shadsworth Road, Blackburn, Lancashire, previously trading as Shadsworth Road Service Station at the same address, was ordered to repay £133,660.41 within three months or serve 15 months in jail. The court agreed he benefited by £247,590.57 from the fuel and VAT frauds and a confiscation order was issued for his current assets valued at £133,660.41. HMRC found he had:

- 50% share in Shadsworth Road Service Station, on Shadsworth Road, Blackburn, valued at £125,000

- a freehold title of a house Troon Avenue, Blackburn, equity valued at £640.41

- 2% share in Jans Conference Centre, Higher Audley Street, Blackburn, valued at £7,000

- 150 Rolls Royce shares valued at £1,020; and

- a personal pension that will be worth about £40,000 in 2018.

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.  For further details of this case see HMRC news release NW05/16 http://www.mynewsdesk.com/uk/hm-revenue-customs-hmrc/pressreleases/blackburn-fuel-fraudster-jailed-1314443

4.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.

5.  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

6.  Follow HMRC Press Office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice

7.  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.