One of the key players in a 21-strong criminal gang who stole £37.5 million in a complex tax fraud has been ordered to pay back £3.3 million.
Peter Pomfrett, formerly of Chigwell, Essex, was jailed for eight years in 2008 for his role in the fraud. If he does not pay up within 12 months, he will return to prison for seven years and will still owe the money when he’s released. It is believed that, among other assets, he bought three UK properties – each worth more than £0.5 million – using his criminal profits.
Pomfrett was jailed in 2008 following one of the most complex investigations ever undertaken by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) into ‘Missing Trader’, or MTIC, fraud. The gang imported computer chips, mainly from Ireland, VAT-free. The goods were then sold on through a chain of companies each involved in the plot, with VAT added. Sham invoices would be issued before the computer chips were eventually exported back to the European Union. This allowed the companies in the chain to obtain a credit for the VAT apparently paid on the goods.
Richard Meadows, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said:
“Pomfrett and his co-conspirators stole £37.5 million from the public. Our investigation was long and complex, but we did not consider our job done at prosecution. Our next step was to seek confiscation of the gang’s assets, and yesterday's action is another warning to fraudsters that we will find you, build a case against you and then recover the proceeds of your crime.”
Notes for editors
- Peter John Pomfrett, DOB 29.07.53, of Woolston Manor Cottage, Abridge Road,Chigwell, Essex, was originally sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2008. This was reduced on appeal to eight years’ imprisonment. On 9 December 2013 at the Royal Courts of Justice, London, he was ordered to repay £3.3 million or serve a further seven years in prison.
- HMRC’s investigation led to seven trials and retrials. The 21 gang members were jailed for a total of 74 years.
- Follow HMRC on Twitter @HMRCgovuk
- An image is available from our Flickr channel www.flickr.com/hmrcgovuk and from the ‘press and media’ pages at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs
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.