May 26 2013 Latest news:
Lorraine King, News editor
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Roshan Hussain was part of 15-strong gang who tried to defrauded the HRMC
A Dollis Hill woman who was part of a 15-strong criminal gang behind a £176million VAT fraud has been jailed for a year.
Roshan Hussain, 44, who formerly lived in Parkside, and her brother Dilawar Ravjani, 34, were the directors of a company called Property and Management Services Ltd which laundered £19.5m reaped from the complex fraud involving mobile phones.
Kingston Crown Court heard Ravjani was the mastermind behind the scam which saw the gang try to claw back VAT for 4 million mobile phones worth £1.7billion they claimed to have sold.
However, in many cases the phones did not exist, including 250,000 which had not yet been launched in the UK.
In an attempt to make the trade appear legitimate, more than 5,700 fake business transactions were created by the gang with Future Communications (UK) Ltd, a company in Honeypot Lane, Kingsbury, claiming to be an exporter of mobile phone that started from a missing trader.
Hussain was the secretary and her brother the director of the company.
At the same time the company also acted as an importer allowing other traders such as Unique Distribution, a sister company, to seek significant VAT payments.
Property and Management Services Ltd used a variety of methods including utilising an offshore bank, car sales businesses, a property investment company and a loans company to launder their ill-gotten gains.
The gang was snared after suspicious HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) officers launched an investigation in May 2006.
Thee first arrests were made within three weeks and prevented the attempted £176m fraud.
Investigators also believe they halted further fraudulent claims totalling £109m by companies linked to the gang.
During the arrests, officers seized around £170,000 in cash, including £47,000 which was found in carrier bags in the boot of luxury car owned by John McFarnon, a director of Unique Distribution.
There were more than 20 companies in the Ravjani Corporation which was owned by Hussain and Ravjani’s father.
The companies were involved in car sales, buying and selling of mobile phones and property investment.
Hussain was convicted of attempting to pervert the course of justice last October but reporting restrictions were put in place until the final gang member was sentenced yesterday (Tuesday).
Last month, Ravjani was found guilty of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue and jailed for 17 years - the longest sentence ever given to an individual in the UK for this type of fraud.
He has also been disqualified from being a company director for 15 years.
McFarnon, 56, from Wiltshire, who received a £50,000 bonus from Ravjani, admitted fraudulent trading and was jailed for three years.
He is also disqualified from being a company director for five years.
Eight other gang members were jailed for a total of 45 and–a-half years and a further four were given suspended sentences.
All were convicted of fraud offences.
Chris Martin, from HRMC, said: “This was a complex and well-organised fraud which made a huge profit for the gang at the expense of UK taxpayers, but the dedication and techniques used by HMRC officers in this investigation resulted in the successful prosecution and convictions of these criminals.
“We will now seek to recover the proceeds of this crime.”