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Gift Aid fraud accountant jailed for six years

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ACCOUNTANT Abu Talib Ghadiri has been jailed for six years for his involvement in a £400,000 Gift Aid and VAT fraud after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs.

Ghadiri, from Harrow, was sentenced to six years  at Harrow Crown Court on Friday 20 May, while his accomplice and brother Mohsin Raza was handed a four year sentence for his involvement in the fraud.

The news comes less than a month after Ghadiri and Raza were found guilty for running an elaborate Gift Aid fraud scam in respect of two charities – the Fatimiyya Trust and The Light, both which falsely claimed to help victims of natural disasters in Pakistan.

HMRC began the investigation after checks by a VAT compliance officer found discrepancies in the VAT repayment claims from the charities.

Investigators uncovered the evidence that proved Ghadiri and Raza were also committing Gift Aid fraud and in a separate fraud, Salih Ozbay, an associate of Ghadiri and company secretary of Smart Price Builders, had submitted a false VAT repayment claim to HMRC for £69,442. Ozbay was also found guilty at Harrow Crown Court and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

HMRC also found that Ghadiri made false VAT repayment claims for £47,000,  linked to seven bogus companies.

Ghadiri claimed that the companies had been set up by his estranged ex-girlfriend and he was not involved, despite his home serving as the registered address and his National Insurance number being connected to each of the company accounts.

Ghadiri’s former girlfriend told the court that Ghadiri was in control of the companies and was simply using her details to avoid getting caught.

Martin Brown, assistant director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “As an accountant, Ghadiri would have known the seriousness of committing Gift Aid and VAT fraud, but he carried on regardless and submitted false paperwork to substantiate his claims.

“These individuals stole money that should have been spent on vital public services, not used to line their own pockets, but they are now paying the price.”

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