ACCOUNTANTS AND AUDITORS were among those who helped a conman steal tens of millions of pounds from the taxman.
Thomas Scragg, of Hockley Heath near Solihull, who defrauded the public purse of £34m between 2002 and 2008, was handed one of the longest prison sentences in British legal history with a 17-year term.
With the help of co-conspirators including accountants and auditors, he channelled stolen employee PAYE contributions through his business, Mona Payroll, which managed the staff wages of various construction industry companies, reports Metro.
The scam allowed Scragg and his two henchmen, brothers Carl and Anthony Johnson, to live in opulence, with the money spent on bullet-proof windows, lavish meals, hotel stays and luxury cars including a Lamborghini Murcielago, Ferrari Spider and Porche Cayenne.
Neighbours of the Johnsons – who were paid £2.4m by Scragg for their protection services – reportedly became suspicious of their lifestyles and informed the police.
They were convicted of money laundering at Birmingham crown court and will be sentenced at a later date.
Scragg was jailed for 13 years in November 2010, with his sentence extended by a further four years in March last year.
Ten other men were convicted on a range of charges including conspiracy to defraud HM Revenue & Customs, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and money-laundering.
The latest opinions from Accountancy Age on Making Tax Digital, and outline plans to evolve the UK's corporate governance regime
Five million taxpayers are ow using digital personal tax accounts (PTA) as part of the making tax digital strategy, HMRC said
A group of investors in film schemes HMRC has determined as tax avoidance are suing Ingenious Media, the company that offered the schemes, and leading banks after losing more than £100m