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HMRC arrests suspected tax cyber fraud gang

Press Release   •   May 23, 2014 14:30 BST

Three members of a suspected criminal gang have been arrested and charged on suspicion of attempting to net millions of pounds in tax rebates from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

HMRC investigators, supported by Metropolitan Police officers, arrested three men after swooping on properties in simultaneous dawn raids on Wednesday (21 May). The arrests took place in Catford, Woolwich and Sydenham.

The group is suspected of using illegally obtained or bogus personal information in order to set up multiple fake HMRC Self Assessment accounts with the intention of stealing large tax rebates totalling tens of millions of pounds.

Andrew Sackey, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said:

"HMRC's online systems are resilient to such attacks – they correctly identified and prevented the vast majority of these false repayment attempts from the outset.

“These arrests show we can, and will, apprehend those suspected of attempting to cheat UK taxpayers by defrauding HMRC. They also show that it is no longer possible for fraudsters to remain hidden behind a computer.”

HMRC is unable to provide any further information ahead of court proceedings.

Notes for Editors

1. The three men were arrested on Wednesday and charged today at Westminster  Magistrates Court for conspiracy to defraud. The men have been remanded in custody.

2. HMRC encourages anyone with information on suspected smuggling and fraud to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.

3. Follow HMRC on Twitter @HMRCgovuk

4. Photographs are available on HMRC’s Flickr site

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.