Press release -
Runaway VAT fraudster jailed
A VAT fraudster who fled the country eight years ago to escape justice has been jailed for four years.
Mohammad Tanwir Khan, of Bluestone Drive, Heaton Moor, Stockport, ran a company called Spearpoint Limited and absconded to Pakistan after he was convicted of an £817,000 VAT fraud in 2013.
An investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) revealed he used more than 350 false invoices linked to fictitious exports to pocket VAT repayments he was not entitled to.
The 66-year-old fled the country after he was found guilty and was sentenced in his absence to three and a half years in August 2013. He was also ordered to repay £696,749 or face another three years in prison.
Khan returned to the UK and was arrested by HMRC officers on 13 August 2021.
On 18 August 2021, he appeared at Manchester’s Nightingale Crown Court via video link where his sentence was confirmed. He was also sentenced to another six months in prison for absconding.
Eden Noblett, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
“Khan stole more than £800,000 of taxpayers’ money and thought he could escape punishment– but now he must serve his sentence.
“Tax crime robs our vital public services of much-needed funds. Our actions do not stop at conviction and we will always seek to recover the proceeds of crime.
“The majority of individuals and businesses pay the tax that is due – however there remains a determined minority who refuse to play by the rules. We encourage anyone with information about tax fraud to report it online or call the Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”
Confiscation proceedings to recover the stolen VAT remain ongoing. If he fails to pay the confiscation order, he faces another three years behind bars and still owe the money, and any interest accrued.
Notes for editors
- Mohammad Tanwir Khan (also known as Muhammad Tanwir Akthar Khan), DOB 13/01/55, of Bluestone Drive, Heaton Moor, Stockport, Greater Manchester, was found guilty of VAT fraud on 3 May 2013.
- Khan was due to be sentenced at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court on 17 June 2013, but he failed to attend. The court issued a warrant for his arrest.
- He was sentenced in his absence to three and a half years on 20 August 2013.
- At a confiscation hearing on 22 November 2013, a confiscation order was granted for £696,749 based on his realisable assets. He was ordered in his absence to repay the amount within three months or face another three years behind bars and still owe the money, and any interest accrued.
- Khan was arrested by HMRC officers on 13 August 2021.
- He appeared at Manchester’s Nightingale Crown Court via video link on 18 August 2021 and his sentence was confirmed. He was also sentenced to another six months in prison for absconding.
- In the last five years, HMRC has returned more than 60 fugitives including some of the UK’s most harmful tax cheats.
- Further information about this case is available from our news release issued following sentencing in August 2013.
- Follow HMRC’s Press Office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice
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.