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Two jailed for tax fraud

A businessman and his ex-girlfriend, who used bogus identities to steal more than £2.3m in a tax fraud, have been jailed for a total of ten years.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) found that Satpal Singh Mahal, 48, from Walsall and Louise Brown, 53, from Plymouth, had used false and stolen identities to set up fake companies and bank accounts online; with Mahal claiming to be a doctor on one application.

Each of the companies alleged to sell advertising in the UK media to overseas clients, enabling the couple to fraudulently reclaim VAT on UK expenses. However, HMRC investigators discovered that none of the companies actually traded.

The couple claimed VAT repayments through four companies and attempted claims through three others, over a period of four years.

Mahal and Brown, a chiropodist, were caught out when checks made by HMRC into their VAT returns raised concerns, and each time officers asked to speak with them at their business premises, they said they were too busy to answer questions.

Mahal pleaded guilty to committing insurance fraud after he was found to have submitted fake invoices to his insurers, when the couple’s flat was damaged.

HMRC will now seek to recover the proceeds of their crimes.

Notes for editors

1. Satpal Singh Mahal (DOB 3/11/1967) of Clover Hill, Walsall was found guilty of: Conspiracy to cheat the public  revenue contrary to section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 and Concealing, disguising, converting or transferring criminal property, or removing criminal property from England and Wales, contrary to section 327(1) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 at Blackfriars Court on 13 May 2016. He pleaded guilty to fraud contrary to the Fraud Act 2006 at Blackfriars Crown Court on 9 October 2015. He was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for the VAT and money laundering offences and 12 months’ imprisonment for the insurance fraud, to run concurrently at the same court today. He was disqualified from being a Company Director for ten years.

2. Louise Brown (DOB 4/3/1963) of Holyrood Place, Plymouth, was found guilty of: Conspiracy to cheat the public revenue contrary to section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 and Concealing, disguising, converting or transferring criminal property, or removing criminal property from England and Wales, contrary to section 327(1) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 at Blackfriars Court on 13 May 2016. She was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment at the same court today. She was disqualified from being a Company Director for ten years.

3. The couple fraudulently claimed more than £2.33 million in VAT repayments.

4. Photographs of Brown and Mahal are available on HMRC’s Flickr channel www.flickr.com/hmrcgovuk.

5. Anyone with information about VAT fraud can report it online at www.hmrc.gov.uk/reportingfraud/online.htm

6. Follow HMRC’s Press Office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice

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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.

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HMRC Regional Press Officer - Wales

HMRC Press Officer Wales Wales 03000 550 493

Related content

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.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
100 Parliament St
SW1A 2BQ London