HM Revenue and Customs today published the names and photographs of 2012’s top tax cheats in a move designed to shame tax-dodgers.
The 32 criminals have been sentenced to a combined total of 155 years and 10 months behind bars.
"Most people play by the rules and pay what they owe, but HMRC is cracking down on those who don’t,” said David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury. “We hope that publishing these pictures will help get across that it always makes sense to declare all your income, and tax dodgers are simply storing up trouble for the future."
Those jailed include three ‘green fraudsters’ who pretended to trade European Union carbon emmission allowances to claim £38m VAT in six months were among those jailed last year.
The government is investing £994m in the tax office over four years to tackle tax evasion, avoidance and fraud, aiming to add £7bn a year to the Treasury’s coffers by 2015. The government continues to spend far more than it takes in tax receipts with the shortfall projected to be £121bn in the current tax year falling to £80bn next year.
New legislation was introduced in April (Paris: FR0004037125 - news) 2010 allowing HMRC to publish the details of people or companies caught deliberately evading more than £25,000. Previously, HMRC could not publish details of civil action, only in criminal cases. It does not apply to late filing or late payment penalties.
Sentenced in 2012: Kevin Ramon Burrage, Gary Dennis Clarke, Michael Brian Turner and Davinder Singh Dhaliwal 21 years 3 months
Background: A criminal gang has been jailed for one of the biggest ever alcohol smuggling frauds ever uncovered in the UK. The scam was worth £50m a year in unpaid duty and VAT and allowed the gang members to spend recklessly on high performance cars and luxury properties throughout Europe.
Gang ringleader Kevin Burrage, 49, owned Promptstock Ltd, a bonded warehouse in Essex. His brother-in-law, Gary Clark, 55, managed the warehouse which the pair used to import and export alcohol without paying a penny in tax.
Gold jewellery smuggling
Sentenced in 2012: Chaudray Ali 9 years
Background: A jeweller who evaded more than £7million VAT by smuggling gold into the UK has been jailed for nine years today following an international investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The gold was bought in Dubai and brought into the country via Frankfurt to avoid VAT payments over a two-year period.
Sentenced in 2012: Murugasan Natarajan 6 years
Background: A garlic smuggler has been jailed for six years after evading around £2 million in customs duty while importing Chinese garlic. The smuggler, who is now on the run, claimed he was importing ginger but HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigators found that the containers used were transported at the wrong temperature.
Sentenced in 2012: Phillip William Robinson, Vincent Waller, Phillip William Hall, Christopher John Burns and Andrius Kochanauskas 13 years 1 month
Background: A criminal gang which set up a factory potentially capable of making up to 625 million counterfeit cigarettes and five million pouches of fake hand rolling tobacco a year were jailed. The plot, worth over £131m per annum in lost revenue, was foiled when HM Revenue andand Customs criminal investigators swooped and closed down the fully equipped cigarette factory in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, before it went into production. During the raid in September 2009 they discovered that the gang were also planning to expand into making counterfeit alcohol.
Sentenced in 2012: Paul O’Meara, Robert Doran, Patrick Gray, Martin Cleland, Mark Sadgrove, Wayne Stock and Matthew Neale 24 years 6 months
Background: A gang which described over 20 million smuggled cigarettes on shipping documents as babies’ toys was jailed after a covert surveillance operation.The seven men were arrested after some were seen unloading over 10 million illicit cigarettes at a warehouse in Upminster after they had been smuggled into the UK from Dubai through the port of Felixstowe. The total duty evaded is estimated as £3.3 million.
• See more tax cheat pictures : http://www.flickr.com/photos/hmrcgovuk/sets/72157632409515581
• Ian Cowie's blog: Top tax dodgers including ‘green fraudsters’ jailed for 150 years