A woman who stole £750,000 in VAT by alleging to trade in beauty products has today been jailed after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) revealed she had tampered with paperwork so she could increase her repayment claims.
Chyi Chiann Cheah used a number of aliases to run cosmetics businesses which were supposedly importing and exporting beauty products to Europe from the Far East via the UK under the company names SO SUSAN and Beauty Port Limited.
Over a ten year period, she produced and submitted false invoices and shipping documents to support her claims for VAT repayments. But her companies were de-registered by HMRC when officers found she had vanished, becoming a ‘missing trader’ to avoid investigation.
Paul Barton, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC said:
“Cheah thought she could hide from HMRC and avoid the consequences of her fraud. She was wrong. She cheated the taxpayer out of hundreds of thousands of pounds which should have been spent on essential public services and is now paying the price as she starts her jail term.”
Cheah was arrested when she returned to the UK from Malaysia in February 2014 and was later charged with offences under the Value Added Tax Act 1994. Forensic analysis of her computer revealed some genuine shipping documents but for small amounts, to increase the VAT she had been charged in an attempt to legitimise her claims.
The VAT repayments funded Cheah’s lavish lifestyle including her flat overlooking Regents Park and extensive world travel. Large sums of money was also sent to accounts controlled by her in the Far East.
Notes for editors
1.Details of the defendant sentenced today 11 December 2015 at Ipswich Crown Court:
-Chyi Chiann Cheah (DOB 27.07.81) a Malaysian national, also known as Susan Chyi of Park Road, London, NW1, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 32 months imprisonment.
-Cheah was also disqualified as a company director for a period of five years.
-Cheah will be deported upon release.
-As part of the agreement a sum of over £750,000 was also paid back to HMRC in advance of sentencing.
-She carried out the fraud over a ten year period between 2001 and 2011.
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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.