An accountant from Bolton, who hijacked the identities of NHS doctors and nurses in a £40,000 tax fraud, has been jailed.
Sharjeel Iqbal, 29, of Lakelands Drive, Bolton, used his position as an NHS finance worker to hijack the identities of 59 carefully selected midwives, nurses, cardiologists and other NHS staff who were genuinely due tax refunds. He submitted claims without their knowledge and diverted the money to his own bank accounts.
Sandra Smith, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), said:
“This was a well-organised, professional attempt to manipulate the UK tax system for personal gain. As an accountant, Iqbal was in a position of trust and well aware that he was breaking the law.
“He stole personal data, forged signatures on tax repayment documents, submitted false claims and paid the refunds into his own bank accounts. It was an appalling plan to steal from doctors, nurses and UK taxpayers that HMRC intercepted. He now has a criminal record and his professional reputation is ruined.
“If you know of anyone who is committing tax fraud you can report them by calling our 24-hour Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”
Iqbal attempted to claim £40,277 in faked Self Assessment repayments on behalf of non-existent clients between 2012 and 2013. However, HMRC withheld £14,308 when they detected suspicious activity linked to his accountancy business and some of the hijacked identities.
Iqbal was arrested in early morning raids by HMRC on 12 November 2014. HMRC searched his home and business premises and seized laptops, business records and mobile phones for forensic examination as part of the investigation. Officers also discovered a significant amount of cash, which has been detained, and will now form part of proceedings to confiscate his criminal profits.
On 4 November 2016, Iqbal was jailed for 21 months after pleading guilty at a previous court hearing.
Notes for editors
1.Sharjeel Iqbal, DOB 03/06/87, of Lakelands Drive, Bolton, Greater Manchester, is a qualified self-employed accountant and the director of his own accountancy practices during the fraud: R T Roberts & Co Ltd, TNC Associates Ltd, which then became ATT Associates trading from premises on St Helens Road, Bolton.
2.On 26 September 2016, Iqbal pleaded guilty to dishonestly and intending to make a gain for himself or another or to cause loss to another made false representations to HMRC which were and which he knew were untrue or misleading, namely by claiming tax repayments on behalf of individuals falsely claimed to be clients of one of his companies, whereas he did not have the authority or permission of the said individuals, in breach of section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006 at Bolton Crown Court.
3.HMRC’s Flickr channel: www.flickr.com/hmrcgovuk
4.Follow HMRC’s Press Office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice
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.