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Payback for gang behind fuel and VAT fraud

Press Release   •   Dec 02, 2015 15:23 GMT

Three men jailed for 13 years for their part in a multi-million pound fuel and VAT fraud have been ordered to pay back almost £6.9 million or face more time behind bars.

Senior citizen Michael Wilmot, 73, led the Lincolnshire gang that was jailed in July 2014 after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) found they had evaded millions in duty and tax through a sophisticated fraud.

Wilmot, transport manager Michael Taylor, 39, and HGV driver Derek Blackburn, 61, all from Market Rasen, appeared at Hull Crown Court where the confiscation orders were granted.

David Cowie, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:

“Our investigations do not stop at sentencing. It is crucial we look to stop criminals profiting from their crimes and reclaim as much as possible to put it back where it belongs - funding vital public services across the UK.

“This criminal gang were put behind bars for stealing millions of pounds. Now they must pay back what they owe otherwise they will be spending more years in prison."

Wilmot used connections to a farmers’ buying consortium in Louth to order large quantities of rebated fuel, commonly known as red diesel. Unknown to the consortium, the fuel was sold on and used illegally in heavy goods vehicles (HGV) belonging to 35 different companies, all with connections to Wilmot.

In an extension of the fraud, Wilmot played his part in issuing invoices for the haulage work carried out by the companies, charging customers VAT on their services. But instead of paying the VAT to HMRC, he pocketed the cash. In addition, none of the companies involved paid Corporation Tax or PAYE and National Insurance for their drivers and employees.

Notes for Editors

1. Details of the confiscation orders secured on 27 November 2015 at Hull Crown Court:

  • Michael Wilmot, (DOB 26/05/1942), Top Farm, Low Road, Market Rasen and Michael Taylor, (DOB 04/02/1976), of Waterloo Street, Market Rasen were ordered to pay back £6,884.366.97 within three months. If not, Wilmot will receive a default prison sentence of three years and Taylor, a default prison sentence of 18 months
  • Derek Blackburn, (DOB 11/11/1954), Fieldsend Farm, Station Road, Moortown, Market Rasen – ordered to pay £12,500 within three months or a default prison sentence of eight months

2. There is no appeal against default jail sentences issued in confiscation orders and the order for repayment remains in place after the default sentence is served by the fraudster.

3. Details of previous sentencing of all defendants are available at: http://www.mynewsdesk.com/uk/hm-revenue-customs-hmrc/pressreleases/five-jailed-in-ps4-3-million-diesel-and-vat-fraud-1032247

4. Follow HMRC’s Press Office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice

5. 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.