Skip to main content

Ringleader of tax fraud gang jailed

Press Release   •   Jul 13, 2018 15:44 BST

David Handley

The Leicester ringleader of a 19-strong gang has been jailed for four years and eight months after he led a £2.4 million VAT repayment fraud.

David Handley, 43, recruited more than a dozen accomplices to make almost 300 fraudulent claims for VAT repayments over a seven-year period, a HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation revealed.

Investigators found Handley, of Aylestone Road, supervised the set-up of 46 fake businesses for the sole purpose of stealing tax repayments.

He repeatedly posed as a legitimate trader and used the details of his accomplices to register businesses, fronting supposed courier companies, air conditioning suppliers and fast food firms. Handley submitted false tax repayment claims on behalf of other gang members and gave them a cut.

The gang, who met through school or social events, would request a large initial repayment followed by reduced subsequent claims. When contacted by HMRC the trader would cease all claims and become uncontactable.

Most of the proceeds were split between the gang but Handley, believed to be the mastermind behind the scam, was the only member not to receive payments directly into his account. However, he did receive money indirectly via other members.

He also tried to block the investigation by sending fake invoices to HMRC in a bid to justify the repayments, which he said were due to high set-up costs.

A total of £2,415,837 was paid out to the individuals, and further payments of £262,622 were withheld by HMRC.

Daren Cooley, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:

“This gang, controlled by Handley, carried out a relentless and sustained attack on the tax system. They illegally claimed VAT they weren’t entitled to and diverted money from our public services into their own pockets. Handley in particular lied and lied – initially to steal and then to try to block our investigation.

“Tax fraud is a serious crime with very real consequences for our schools and hospitals. HMRC is working hard to ensure these illegal tax cheats are brought to justice. Anyone with information about tax fraud should contact HMRC online or call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

Handley was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison, at Leicester Crown Court today (July 13).

18 of the remaining gang members were also convicted for their roles in the fraud:

  • James Baker, 40, sentenced to 21 months in prison
  • John Peel, 58, sentenced to three and-a-half years in prison
  • Derek White, 68, sentenced to three and-a-half years in prison
  • William Penman, 47, sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for two years
  • Kenneth Oliver, 42, sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years
  • Stephen Barron, 47, sentenced to 14 months in prison, suspended for two years
  • Shaun Dickens, 46, sentenced to two years in prison
  • Emanuele Battista, 45, sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years
  • Franco Battista, 40, sentenced to two years in prison
  • Steven Finnigan, 59, sentenced to five months in prison, suspended for two years
  • Angelo Giordano, 46, sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years
  • Scott Marchant, 49, sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years
  • Neil McClafferty, 36, sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years
  • Gary Norton, 41, sentenced to 16 months in prison, suspended for two years
  • Brian Richards, 43, sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for two years
  • Mark Spain, 55, sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years
  • Samuel Tindle, 29, sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years
  • Steven Walton, 48, sentenced to 12 months community service and 100 hours unpaid work.

Peel, White, Emanuele and Franco Battista, Dickens, Tindle and McClafferty were convicted after a trial. The rest admitted guilt.

Information about any type of tax fraud can be reported to HMRC online at https://www.gov.uk/report-an-unregistered-trader-or-business.

Notes to Editors

  1. James Baker. DOB: 21/04/1978, of Thomasson Road, Leicester, was charged with entering into or becoming concerned in an arrangement which he knows or suspects facilitates the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property by or on behalf of another person contrary to S 328(1) of the proceeds of Crime Act 2002. He was sentenced to 21 months in prison, at Leicester Crown Court on July 13.
  2. Stephen Barron. DOB: 15/06/1971, of Monday Crescent, Newcastle, was charged with entering into or becoming concerned in an arrangement which he knows or suspects facilitates the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property by or on behalf of another person contrary to S 328(1) of the proceeds of Crime Act 2002. He was sentenced to 14 months in prison suspended for two years, and 180 hours of unpaid work, at Leicester Crown Court on July 13.
  3. Shaun Dickens. DOB: 31/12/1970, of Bates Court, Leicester, was charged with entering into or becoming concerned in an arrangement which he knows or suspects facilitates the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property by or on behalf of another person contrary to S 328(1) of the proceeds of Crime Act 2002. He was sentenced to two years in prison, at Leicester Crown Court on July 13.
  4. Emanuele Battista. DOB: 09/03/1973, of Burleigh Place, Buckingham, was charged with entering into or becoming concerned in an arrangement which he knows or suspects facilitates the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property by or on behalf of another person contrary to S 328(1) of the proceeds of Crime Act 2002. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison suspended for two years, and 180 hours unpaid work, at Leicester Crown Court on July 13.
  5. Franco Battista. DOB: 22/07/1977, of Cranfield Road, Leicester, was charged with entering into or becoming concerned in an arrangement which he knows or suspects facilitates the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property by or on behalf of another person contrary to S 328(1) of the proceeds of Crime Act 2002. He was sentenced to two years in prison, at Leicester Crown Court on July 13.
  6. Steven Finnigan. DOB: 06/06/1959, of Hextall Road, Leicester, was charged with entering into or becoming concerned in an arrangement which he knows or suspects facilitates the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property by or on behalf of another person contrary to S 328(1) of the proceeds of Crime Act 2002. He was sentenced to five months in prison suspended for two years, and 150 hours unpaid work, at Leicester Crown Court on July 13.
  7. Angelo Giordano. DOB: 05/07/1972, of Currier Drive, Milton Keynes, was charged with entering into or becoming concerned in an arrangement which he knows or suspects facilitates the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property by or on behalf of another person contrary to S 328(1) of the proceeds of Crime Act 2002.He was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for two years, and 150 hours unpaid work, at Leicester Crown Court on July 13.
  8. David Handley. DOB: 29/11/1974, of Aylestone Road, Leicester, was charged with cheating the revenue contrary to common law. He was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison, at Leicester Crown Court on July 13.
  9. Scott Marchant. DOB: 29/09/1968, of 16 Corby Road, Leicester, was charged with entering into or becoming concerned in an arrangement which he knows or suspects facilitates the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property by or on behalf of another person contrary to S 328(1) of the proceeds of Crime Act 2002. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison suspended for two years, and 180 hours unpaid work, at Leicester Crown Court on July 13.
  10. Neil McClafferty. DOB: 25/04/1982, of Parvian Road, Leicester, was charged with entering into or becoming concerned in an arrangement which he knows or suspects facilitates the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property by or on behalf of another person contrary to S 328(1) of the proceeds of Crime Act 2002. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison suspended for two years, and 150 hours unpaid work, at Leicester Crown Court on July 13.
  11. Gary Norton. DOB: 04/10/1976, of Howard Road, Leicester, was charged with entering into or becoming concerned in an arrangement which he knows or suspects facilitates the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property by or on behalf of another person contrary to S 328(1) of the proceeds of Crime Act 2002. He was sentenced to 16 months in prison suspended for two years, and 150 hours unpaid work, at Leicester Crown Court on July 13.
  12. Kenneth Oliver. DOB: 13/10/1975, of Royston Close, Leicester, was charged with money laundering. He was sentenced to eight months in prison suspended for two years, and 120 hours unpaid work, at Leicester Crown Court on July 13.
  13. John Peel. DOB: 30/03/1960, of Cumberland Road, Leicester, was charged with cheating the revenue contrary to common law. He was sentenced to three and-a-half years in prison, at Leicester Crown Court on July 13.
  14. William Penman. DOB: 17/03/1971, of Botham Road, Leicester, was charged with money laundering. He was sentenced to two years in prison suspended for two years, and a curfew for six months, at Leicester Crown Court on July 13.
  15. Brian Richards. DOB: 29/11/1974, of Howden Road, Leicester, was charged with entering into or becoming concerned in an arrangement which he knows or suspects facilitates the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property by or on behalf of another person contrary to S 328(1) of the proceeds of Crime Act 2002. He was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for two years, at Leicester Crown Court on July 13.
  16. Mark Spain. DOB: 17/02/1963, of Withcote Avenue, Leicester, was charged with entering into or becoming concerned in an arrangement which he knows or suspects facilitates the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property by or on behalf of another person contrary to S 328(1) of the proceeds of Crime Act 2002. He was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for two years, and 150 hours unpaid work, at Leicester Crown Court on July 13.
  17. Samuel Tindle. DOB: 02/09/1988, of Blackfriars Road, Syston, Leicester, was charged with entering into or becoming concerned in an arrangement which he knows or suspects facilitates the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property by or on behalf of another person contrary to S 328(1) of the proceeds of Crime Act 2002. He was sentenced to eight months in prison suspended for two years, and 120 hours unpaid work, at Leicester Crown Court on July 13.
  18. Derek White. DOB: 24/05/1950, of Kings Drive, Leicester, was charged with cheating the revenue contrary to common law. He was sentenced to three and-a-half years in prison, at Leicester Crown Court on July 13.
  19. Steven Walton: DOB: 18/12/1969, of Thorpewell, off Coleman Road, Leicester, was charged with entering into or becoming concerned in an arrangement which he knows or suspects facilitates the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property by or on behalf of another person contrary to S 328(1) of the proceeds of Crime Act 2002. He was sentenced to 12 months community service, 100 hours unpaid work, and ordered to pay £250 costs, at Leicester Crown Court on 13/10/16.
  20. Follow HMRC Press Office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice.
  21. 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.

Attached Files

Word document