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Beating the cheats: HMRC reveals top 10 tax cases from 2016

The tax office had a busy year in 2016, leading to 679 individuals jailed for a combined 730 years.

Beating the cheats

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has revealed its top 10 fraud and organised crimes last year.

The tax office took a wide range of fraudster to court last year, with 679 individuals convicted for being involved in tax crimes in 2016.

The individuals were involved in a wide range of criminal activity including excise smuggling, hiding assets from HMRC in offshore accounts, and frauds disguised as tax avoidance schemes.

'Day in, day out, HMRC is coming down hard on tax cheats. As these cases show, we’ll tackle anyone committing tax fraud, regardless of how well resourced, well advised, or well organised,' HMRC director of fraud investigation Simon York said.

'These ten prosecutions are among the most significant cases we’ve handled this year, and they reflect the wide range of work carried out by HMRC.'

Beating the cheats

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has revealed its top 10 fraud and organised crimes last year.

The tax office took a wide range of fraudster to court last year, with 679 individuals convicted for being involved in tax crimes in 2016.

The individuals were involved in a wide range of criminal activity including excise smuggling, hiding assets from HMRC in offshore accounts, and frauds disguised as tax avoidance schemes.

'Day in, day out, HMRC is coming down hard on tax cheats. As these cases show, we’ll tackle anyone committing tax fraud, regardless of how well resourced, well advised, or well organised,' HMRC director of fraud investigation Simon York said.

'These ten prosecutions are among the most significant cases we’ve handled this year, and they reflect the wide range of work carried out by HMRC.'

£5m charity cheats

'Two charity con-men, who faked charitable donations to fraudulently claim more than £5 million in Gift Aid repayments, were jailed for a combined total of 19 years.'

Gang of four £111m mobile phone fraudsters

'Four fraudsters from Forfar, Stoke-on-Trent and Spain, were ordered to repay more than £111 million in criminal profits.

'The men, who were part of an 18-strong criminal gang involved in a mobile phone VAT fraud, were sentenced between 2012 and 2014 to a total of 135 years in prison.'

£6m media cheat

A cheating accountant who advised the media industry, was jailed for five years for a £6 million tax fraud.

£10m tobacco smuggling racket

'A gang of five men from the north of England, who used free public Wi-Fi to try to hide their £10 million cigarette smuggling ring, were jailed for a total of 16 and a half years.'

Father and son £900k fuel fraudsters

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'A criminal gang, including a father and son, caught running a fuel fraud, evading more than £900,000 in duty and taxes by running an illegal filling station in the West Midlands, jailed for a combined total of more than nine and half years.'

£6.9m payroll fraud

Three men – including an accountant and a construction firm boss jailed for a total of 19 years, after stealing £6.9 million in a payroll fraud to fund lavish lifestyles.

£100m film fraud

'Three men jailed for a total of 27 years for a film fraud disguised as a tax avoidance scheme, which was intended to defraud taxpayers of £100 million.'

£2.2m film tax scheme fraud

'A group of film producers, accountants, financial advisers and investment bankers jailed for a total of 36 years for their part in a £2.2 million film tax scheme fraud.'

£15m alcohol fraud

'A criminal gang from the South East jailed for a total of 19 years, after getting caught red-handed with bundles of ‘dirty’ cash, as part of £15 million made from selling alcohol illegally.'

Husband and wife £1m tax cheats

'A London couple who masterminded a nationwide counterfeit tobacco production racket capable of robbing the taxpayer of £1 million a week, were jailed for a total of eight years.'

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