A West Midlands fraudster who paid no tax on the profit from his £3 million online business has been jailed for two years
Abdul Rehman, 50, of Houndsfield Lane, Solihull, lied to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigators and produced bogus invoices in a bid to cover up his £500,000 tax evasion scam.
Rehman sold office supplies from his home in Shirley through A2Z Services and had a turnover of £3 million between 2005 and 2011. But he never registered the business with HMRC and failed to pay any Income Tax, National Insurance or VAT.
Rehman was arrested in 2013 and tried to hoodwink investigators by claiming his tax bill should be as low as £34,000.
He produced bogus invoices from a computer services firm in a bid to prove his claims. Investigators discovered the computer technician who was alleged to have carried out the work was in fact a cleaner.
Rehman was offered the chance to come clean about his tax affairs through HMRC’s Contractual Disclosure Facility (CDF). But he chose to ignore the issue and a criminal investigation was launched.
Paul Maybury, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC said:
“Rehman had the chance to put his tax affairs in order but he chose jail instead. He cheated the public purse of hundreds of thousands of pounds that should have been spent on vital public services. Now he is paying the price for his dishonesty.
“HMRC takes tax fraud extremely seriously and anyone deliberately choosing not to pay their taxes should take advantage of opportunities like the disclosure facility, or face the reality that they could go to jail.
“We try and give people a chance to put their affairs in order, but if they refuse to we will take firm action. Anyone with information about tax fraud can report it online or contact our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”
Rehman was jailed for two years at Birmingham Crown Court on June 12, 2018, after previously pleading guilty to cheating the public revenue and money laundering offences in 2015, following an investigation by HMRC.
Confiscation proceedings are underway to claim back the money.
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 for editors
1. Abdul Rehman, Houndsfield Lane, Shirley, Solihull, DOB 9/12/1967, was charged with cheating the public revenue and money laundering between 1 January 2005 and 31 July 2011. He pleaded guilty on 15 May 2015 at Birmingham Crown Court.
2. Rehman was given the opportunity to resolve his outstanding tax issues by using HMRC’s CDF. After being contacted by HMRC in 2011, Rehman said A2Z Services had only traded since 2008 but information suggested it was as far back as 2005. Rehman was offered the opportunity to enter into a CDF, a chance to make a full disclosure for assurance that a criminal investigation will not be pursued by HMRC. But Rehman failed to act within the 60-day period and the case was referred for criminal investigation, where the full extent of the fraud was uncovered.
3. HMRC have a range of tools available to deal with tax evasion, and criminal prosecution is just one of those tools used for the most serious cases. The CDF is an opportunity to tell HMRC about tax owed. More information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/admitting-tax-fraud-the-contractual-disclosure-facility-cdf
4. Anyone with information about people who may be involved in tax fraud can contact the Tax Evasion Hotline on 0800 788 887.
5. Follow HMRC Press Office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice
6. 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.