Skip to main content

Fake company tax fraud gang jailed

Press Release   •   May 26, 2016 16:38 BST

Ringleaders: Ul Hamid, Sajawal and Nadeem Noor

Twenty three members of a gang based in the West Midlands, Nottinghamshire and West Yorkshire, who stole £2.6 million in a VAT fraud have been jailed for more than 54 years.

A four-year investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) revealed that ringleaders Ibbtsam Ul Hamid, 40, from Shipley, Zuwal Qarnain Sajawal, 40, from Birmingham and Nadeem Noor, 44, from Smethwick had orchestrated a highly organised, large-scale fraud. Ul Hamid used his knowledge as a qualified chartered accountant to exploit the VAT system and defraud the public purse.

In a systematic and deliberate attack on the tax system, the gang created fake companies, produced bogus invoices and manipulated bank statements to claim VAT repayments they were not entitled to.

The investigation identified that, between November 2007 and March 2012, the gang set up and operated 20 companies supposedly supplying computer supplies or electrical fittings for new build properties that didn’t actually exist.

The ringleaders recruited further members to the criminal enterprise who played a crucial role, acting as fronts for the fake companies and facilitating the laundering of the proceeds of the fraud. The bank accounts set up for each company showed no legitimate trading activity with the majority of the VAT repayments from HMRC being withdrawn in cash. The gang submitted over 80 fraudulent VAT repayment claims totalling £2.6 million.

The gang spent the proceeds of their fraud on extravagant holidays, high-performance vehicles and luxury goods and furnishings for their homes.

Richard Young, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Services, HMRC, said:

“Ul Hamid, Sajawal and Noor were at the forefront of a highly sophisticated fraud, enlisting the support of 20 others. The defendants set up bogus companies and faked invoices to give the impression of legitimate business activity, purely to pocket the VAT repayments to finance their lavish lifestyles.

“Had HMRC not stopped them, they could have attempted to steal millions more in a deliberate attack on the public purse but they are now facing over 50 years in jail as a result of their fraud.”

Elizabeth Bailey, Senior District Crown Prosecutor in CPS Specialist Fraud said:

“This group set up fake companies with the sole purpose of fraudulently claiming over £2m in VAT repayment claims from the Revenue.”

“I hope the sentences handed down in this case reinforce the message that if you manipulate the tax system and damage society for your own gain, you risk prosecution and imprisonment.”

The defendants appeared at either Birmingham Crown Court or Stafford Crown Court between September 2014 and June 2015. Twelve entered guilty pleas either prior to trial or immediately before it, but the remainder were found guilty in three separate trials. Reporting restrictions, which were imposed due to outstanding appeals that were subsequently dismissed, have now been lifted.

In his sentencing remarks, His Honour Judge Chambers QC, noted that the enterprise was, highly organised and fraudulent from the outset, involving an elaborate back-up system to deceive HMRC officers.The professionalism of the HMRC investigative team was of the highest calibre.

Confiscation proceedings to recover their criminal profits are ongoing.

Notes for editors

1. All of the defendants were charged with conspiracy to cheat the public revenue apart from Zaheer Hussain who was charged with a single offence of Cheat and Muhammad Sagheer who was convicted for Money Laundering.

2. The following three defendants were found guilty after a trial at Birmingham Crown Court in September 2014. They were sentenced at the same court on 18th December 2014:

  • Ibbtsam Ul Hamid of West Way, Shipley, West Yorkshire, DOB 04/05/76, was sentenced to six years’ custodial and disqualified as a Director for ten years.
  • Gulbar Khan of Coventry Road, Small Heath, Birmingham, DOB 03/08/59, was sentenced to two years’ custodial and disqualified as a Director for five years.
  • Jamilla Noor of Florence Road, Smethwick, West Midlands, DOB 09/04/76, was sentenced to 15 months’ custodial and disqualified as a Director for five years.

3. The following eight defendants were found guilty after a trial at Birmingham Crown Court in February 2015. They were sentenced at the same court on 18th May 2015:

  • Muhammad Kamran of Franchise Street, Wednesbury, West Midlands, DOB 20/06/77, was sentenced to 30 months’ (from 36 months’) custodial and disqualified as a Director for five years.
  • Adam Raza of Leahouse Road, Oldbury, West Midlands, DOB 01/10/75, was sentenced to 30 months’ (from 36 months’) custodial and disqualified as a Director for five years.
  • Muhammad Sagheer of Fordrough Avenue, Bordesley Green, Birmingham, DOB 25/07/82, was sentenced to 30 months’ (from 36 months’) custodial and disqualified as a Director for five years.
  • Safdar Nadeem Khaliq of Woodside Avenue, Bingley, West Yorkshire, DOB 21/07/82, was sentenced to 30 months’ (from 36 months’) custodial and disqualified as a Director for five years.
  • Darren Tyrone Knight, also known as Bilal Knight, of Horseshoe Crescent, Birmingham, DOB 09/12/79, was sentenced to 30 months’ (from 36 months’) custodial and disqualified as a Director for five years.
  • Mohammed Akmal, DOB 16/08/83, of Thornbury Avenue, Bradford, was sentenced to 30 months’ (from 36 months’) custodial and disqualified as a Director for five years.
  • Waseem Khaliq, the brother of Safdar Nadeem Khaliq, of Cross Road, Bradford, West Yorkshire, DOB 10/10/87, was sentenced to 20 months’ (from 36 months’) custodial and disqualified as a Director for five years.
  • Muhammad Raja Sarfraz of St Margarets Road, Brmingham, DOB 13/02/71, was sentenced to 18 months’ (from 36 months’) custodial and disqualified as a Director for five years.

4. Twelve defendants pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cheat:

  • Nadeem Ajaz Noor, the husband of Jamilla Noor, Florence Road, Smethwick, DOB 30/04/72, pleaded guilty in August 2014 and was sentenced to 57 months’ custodial and disqualified as a Director for ten years at Birmingham Crown Court on 18th December 2014.
  • Zuwal Qarnain Sajawal of Victoria Road, Stechford, Birmingham, DOB 30/06/75, pleaded guilty in September 2014 and was sentenced to 57 months’ custodial and disqualified as a Director for ten years at Birmingham Crown Court on 18th December 2014.
  • Mohammed Ali Khan of The Limes, Birmingham, DOB 20/11/68, pleaded guilty in August 2014 and was sentenced to 38 months’ custodial and disqualified as a Director for five years at Birmingham Crown Court on 18th December 2014.
  • Mohammed Saeed Karim, also known as Kashiv Khan, of Bilberry Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham, DOB 06/10/69, pleaded guilty in September 2014 and was sentenced to 38 months’ custodial and was disqualified as a Director for five years at Birmingham Crown Court on 18th December 2014.
  • Bhalal Mann, of Sneinton Hermitage, Nottingham, DOB 30/08/90, pleaded guilty in September 2014 and was sentenced to 38 months’ custodial and disqualified as a Director for five years at Birmingham Crown Court on 18th December 2014.
  • Farhan Mahmood Malik of Cottsmeadow Drive, Birmingham, DOB 02/01/82, pleaded guilty in May 2014, and was sentenced to 33 months’ custodial and disqualified as a Director for five years at Birmingham Crown Court on December 18th 2014.
  • Ishrat Rehman of Lysways Street, Walsall, DOB 10/02/80, pleaded guilty in June 2015 and was sentenced to 24 months’ (from 30 months’) custodial and disqualified as a Director for five years at Stafford Crown Court on 23rd July 2015.
  • Pawel Piotr Durlak of Darlaston Road, Walsall, West Midlands, DOB 26/08/83, pleaded guilty in June 2015, and was sentenced to 14 months’ custodial and disqualified as a Director for five years at Stafford Crown Court on 10th July 2015.
  • Mohammed Khalid Khan, the brother of Mohammed Ali Khan, of Avondale Road, Sparkhill, Birmingham, DOB 27/05/74, pleaded guilty in June 2015 and was sentenced to 14 months’ custodial and disqualified as a Director for five years at Stafford Crown Court on 10th July 2015.
  • Saheed Ahmed of Kenmure Road, Birmingham, DOB 15/01/76, pleaded guilty in June 2015 and was sentenced to 12 months’ custodial and disqualified as a Director for five years at Stafford Crown Court on 10th July 2015.
  • Zaheer Akhtar Hussain, of Brantwood Drive, Bradford, DOB 22/09/77, pleaded guilty in July 2014 to a single charge of Cheating, and was sentenced to 10 months’ custodial suspended for 12 months, 120 hours unpaid work and disqualified as a Director for five years at Birmingham Crown Court on 18th December 2014.
  • Sean Ashe of Ethel Street, Smethwick, DOB 24/07/84, pleaded guilty in December 2013 and was sentenced to 10 months’ custodial suspended for 12 months, 120 hours unpaid work and disqualified as a Director for five years at Birmingham Crown Court on 18the December 2014.

5. Follow us on Twitter @hmrcpressoffice

6. Photographs are available on HMRC’s Flickr site 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.