A man and woman from Enfield who fraudulently tried to claim almost £145,000 in Gift Aid have each been jailed for two years.
Raymond Agbo, 42, and Akua Owusu, 26, claimed that fictitious UK taxpayers had donated to the Church of Grace Ministries UK.
The two ran Mondvi & Co Ltd, a financial services company, through which they processed a Gift Aid repayment claim for £144,800 on behalf of the church. To support the claim they provided false documentation – including the names and addresses of donors who did not exist.
David Margree, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation for HMRC, said:
“Agbo and Owusu had the financial knowledge to make a determined attempt to steal from honest people. They submitted the false claim knowing that it was an abuse of a scheme designed to help charities in need.
“I strongly encourage anyone with information about people committing this type of fraud to call the Tax Evasion Hotline on 0800 788 887.”
Sentencing Agbo and Owusu at the Old Bailey yesterday, 20 February 2013, His Honour Judge Marks QC described the fraud as deliberate, and said:
“You both played an active part in the fraud…you have shown no iota of remorse for what you have done.”
Agbo and Owusu, both of Enfield, London, were both sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.
Notes for editors
1. Defendants’ details:
- Raymond Agbo, a Ghanian national, DOB 22/04/70, of 22 Lockyer Mews, Enfield, London.
- Akua Owusu, a Ghanian national, DOB 28/03/86, also of 22 Lockyer Mews, Enfield, London.
2. Both were found guilty in January 2013 of two counts of conspiracy to Cheat the Public Revenue, by fraudulently claiming a repayment for Gift Aid charitable donations, and submitting false documentation to HMRC to support the claim. They returned to the Old Bailey for sentencing yesterday (Wednesday).
3. Both defendants were disqualified under the Company Directors Disqualification Act for five years.
4. The Gift Aid scheme is for gifts of money to charity by people who pay UK tax. Gift Aid donations are regarded as having basic rate tax deducted by the donor. Charities take the donation – which is money the person has already paid tax on – and reclaim the basic rate tax on its gross equivalent from HMRC.
5. Photographs are available on HMRC’s flickr channel www.flickr.com/hmrcgovuk
6. Follow HMRC on Twitter @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.