A former Leicestershire window fitter, who changed his name by deed-poll in order to avoid capture after he was arrested for VAT fraud, has been jailed for 22 months.
Ashleigh Joshi, 35, was arrested by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in August 2014 when an investigation revealed he had submitted false documents and VAT returns to evade nearly £41,000 in tax. He also attempted to claim a fraudulent VAT repayment of £20,000 using forged documents.
Joshi, who used to live in Leicester Forest East, had been interviewed by HMRC officers but failed to keep his bail appointment. Instead he started the process of changing his name by deed-poll to Bradley Cunningham in an attempt to evade the authorities. But he was quickly tracked down to an address in Kingston upon Thames by HMRC before being charged with the VAT fraud under his original name.
Stuart Taylor, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
“Joshi couldn’t have been more deliberate in his fraud with the sole aim of lining his pockets with cash that should have been funding vital public services. Working as a sub-contractor, he knew he was breaking the law but carried on regardless. He thought that by skipping bail and using a different identity he would fall off our radar, but he didn’t and now he is paying the price behind bars.
“Tax fraud is a serious offence and I urge anyone with information about people or businesses involved in tax fraud to contact the HMRC Customs hotline on 0800 59 5000.”
Notes for Editors:
1. Ashleigh Joshi (also uses the name Bradley Cunningham), DOB 06/01/1980, of No Fixed Abode, pleaded guilty to VAT fraud on 24 September 2015 at Croydon Crown Court. He was sentenced to 22 months in prison when he appeared at the same court on Thursday 10 December 2015.
2. Follow HMRC Press Office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice
3. HMRC's Flickr channel: 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.