Four men from the West Midlands have been jailed for 22 years for their part in a mobile phone VAT fraud and money laundering operation.
The gang took the proceeds of a £1.8m mobile ‘missing trader’ fraud operation and cash from drug trafficking, counterfeiting and credit card fraud and laundered it through casinos in the UK.
Money was also diverted to accounts in Dubai, for access by gangs who provided the ‘dirty’ money.
Deputy director for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Chris Harrison said: ‘The successful conclusion of this case has resulted in a number of criminals at the top of the crime ladder being sent to prison for many years.
‘The amounts stolen were used to fund extravagant and luxurious lifestyles including properties, performance cars and designer jewellery.’
Around £10 million of assets including properties in the UK and abroad, and luxury cars such as Bentleys, Mercedes and a Lamborghini have been seized .
In raids carried out across the West Midlands by HMRC officers a total of £650,000 was seized from the defendants’ and from safety deposit boxes, a casino, a residential address and a number of vehicles. A credit card skimming machine and associated computer equipment used to forge credit cards was also seized.
The four men were jailed for conspiracy to cheat, and conspiracy to launder. Harvinder Singh Batth, of Little Aston, Staffordshire, who was chairman of Anisha Brokers, which was used to divert the proceeds of the VAT fraud, was sentenced to a total of nine years.
Sukhjinder Singh Shergill of Snapdragon Drive, Walsall, was sentenced to a total of seven and a half years, while Suckjit Singh Birring of Sutton Coldfield, was sentenced to two and a half years and Jatinder Singh Salh also of Sutton Coldfield, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.
A fifth man, Jasbinder Singh Bedesha of Dubai Marina, Dubai, is being sentenced today (Friday).