Press release -
‘Ghost brokers’ jailed for tax and insurance fraud
A couple from Kent who funded a luxury lifestyle through a £340,000 tax and motor insurance fraud have been jailed following an investigation led by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Elina Jaksone, 36, and Gagik Kyriacos Manucharyan, 40, failed to declare or pay tax on their £920,000 earnings as ‘ghost’ insurance brokers. They used the criminal proceeds to buy a £365,000 property, fund private education and purchase two Mercedes vehicles, one of which cost £56,000. They enjoyed frequent holidays to exotic destinations including Jamaica, Mauritius, Mexico and Tokyo.
The couple’s motor insurance fraud involved the supply of false and misleading information to insurance companies, when arranging policies for their clients. Jaksone and Manucharyan contacted insurance companies posing as their clients, providing limited information. This allowed the clients, who were mostly Eastern Europeans in the UK, to buy cheaper policies, but the lies meant policies were potentially void.
The couple pocketed about £100 a time in brokerage fees for each policy they arranged, raising £920,000 in the process. None of this income was ever declared to HMRC.
Jaksone also fraudulently claimed £82,000 in tax credits and pension credits by pretending to be a single mother with high childcare costs. She used her mother’s details to obtain pension credits and winter fuel allowance payments. Attempts to claim pension credits in the name of her father-in-law failed.
David Margree, Assistant Director, HMRC said:
“Jaksone and Manucharyan cheated honest, law abiding people, spending their ill-gotten gains on a lifestyle that many of us can only dream of. They also cheated their customers by providing them with inadequate insurance policies”.
“HMRC will not tolerate fraud. We work closely with other agencies, including the Serious Organised Crime Agency, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the financial sector to tackle all forms of fiscal fraud and protect the interests of the public”.
Jaksone and Manucharyan were sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court on Tuesday 9 April. They had denied insurance fraud but were found guilty after a seven week trial in 2012. Both had admitted tax fraud, and Jaksone had also entered a guilty plea to tax credits and benefit fraud.
Manucharyan was sentenced to three years imprisonment on each of three counts of insurance fraud, and Jaksone to two years imprisonment for each of three counts of insurance fraud. These sentences will run concurrently.
Both defendants were also sentenced to two years and two months in prison for tax fraud, while Jaksone will serve a further 10 months for tax credits fraud. These sentences will run consecutively to those imposed for insurance fraud.
Sentencing the couple, His Honour Judge James O’Mahoney said that the couple were “greedy and selfish”, and “couldn’t care less” whether their customers’ insurance policies were void.
The couple’s property in Kent has been restrained and confiscation proceedings will follow.
Notes for editors
1. Elina Jaksone, alias Elina Kalnina, formerly of Thanet Road, Westgate on Sea, Kent CT8 8PB, DOB 30.07.76. Jaksone was found guilty in 2012 of three counts of insurance fraud, contrary to the Fraud Act 2006 and the Theft Act 1978. She was sentenced to two years for each offence, to run concurrently. Jaksone also admitted one count of Cheating the Revenue, contrary to Common Law, and was sentenced to two years and two months in prison. She also pleaded guilty to one charge of tax credits fraud, contrary to the Tax Credits Act 2002, and another of fraudulently claiming pension credits and winter fuel payments, contrary to the Fraud Act 2006, and was sentenced to 10 months in prison. These sentences will run consecutively to those handed down for motor fraud.
2. Gagik Kyriacos Manucharyan, formerly of Thanet Road, Westgate on Sea, Kent, DOB 04.07.72. Manucharyan was found guilty in 2012 of three counts of insurance fraud, contrary to the Fraud Act and the Theft Act. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment for each offence, to run concurrently. Manucharyan also admitted one count of Cheating the Revenue, and was sentenced to two years and two months in prison, to run consecutively.
3. Anyone with information about people or businesses who may be evading their tax can call HMRC’s tax evasion hotline on 0800 788 887 or report information via the HMRC website at hmrc.gov.uk/reportingfraud/online.htm
4. Anyone with information about insurance fraud can call the free and confidential Cheatline on 0800 328 2550 or report it online at insurancefraudbureau.org/report
5. Confiscation proceedings will follow.
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.