AN ACCOUNTANT is among four people arrested in dawn raids yesterday on suspicion of a £2.2m VAT fraud.
The four men, three from Essex and one from Hertfordshire, allegedly set up an elaborate scheme of subcontractors within the civil engineering industry, with the “sole intention of defrauding HMRC of VAT and PAYE”, stated HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
“This is a major investigation into what we suspect is a well organised and professional attempt to manipulate the UK tax system to steal around £2.2m – money which would otherwise be used to finance the UK’s vital public services,” said Martin Brown, assistant director, criminal investigation, HMRC.
“I would encourage anyone with information regarding tax evasion and fraud to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000 .”
Six properties were searched, including addresses in Essex, Hertfordshire and two properties in the Republic of Ireland. Computers, business records and mobile phones were seized for forensic examination. Those arrested have been bailed until March 2015, with investigations ongoing.
HMRC is continuing to ramp up the number of raids on premises it carries out as part of criminal investigations, searching 761 properties in the last year
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