Express & Star

Boss jailed for part in £60m fraud

A bank manager from the Black Country has been jailed for five years for his part in a massive £60million tax fraud.


A bank manager from the Black Country has been jailed for five years for his part in a massive £60million tax fraud.

Carl Harte from Manor Abbey Road, Halesowen opened a bogus bank account to siphon off £3million of the cash generated by the mobile phone VAT scam.

The 42-year-old bank special business relationship manager based at Barclays Bank in Hagley Road, Edgbaston was locked up along with brother-in-law, businessman William Wright, 47, of Kings Norton, Birmingham, whose company Applied Services was used in the racket and got three years behind bars.

Both were sentenced for money laundering.

Details of the scam can be revealed today as a nine year investigation came to an end with the sentencing of the final member of the gang.

Professional gambler Kuldip Singh Sander, 50, from Birmingham was jailed for seven years today at Birmingham Crown Court for siphoning millions of pounds from the fraud through bank accounts.

Today's sentencing triggered the lifting of reporting restrictions on the case that have been in force since 2006 and covered five trials, four at Northampton Crown Court and the other at Birmingham.

Judge Stephen Davis QC, told Sander: "You were part of a very substantial and sophisticated fraud and £8million was laundered through these accounts never to be seen again."

Stephen Farrell from Warley Road, Oldbury, who ran two firms, Bluestar Communications and Solec Ltd, which were used to handle a further £5million from the racket, received a two year prison term after admitting a similar offence.

The gang recruited corrupt customs officer Enda Moen from Northern Ireland to help the complex multi-million pound fraud.

It involved mobile phones and computer chips being bought abroad where they are free of VAT before being sold in this country with VAT added and the crooks pocketing the difference.

Numerous false VAT registered companies were set up along with bogus bank accounts in the sophisticated scam that was smashed after one of the biggest operations involving Revenue and Customs officials.

Investigators followed a paper trail of businesses based throughout the UK, and Europe. A 200-strong customs team made a string of raids in 2002 resulting in the arrest of 17 people, 11 of whom were from the West Midlands. They have now been jailed for a total of nearly 60 years.

Money generated by the fraud paid for a champagne lifestyle for some of the fraudsters.

Adrian Farley, assistant director for HM Revenue and Customs, said: "This was not some kind of victimless crime but organised fraud on a massive scale perpetrated by criminals all bent on making fast and easy profits at the expense of the British taxpayer.

"This type of fraud is not merely a paper fraud but often links to other forms of criminal activity such as drug smuggling and violent crime."

The court heard Farrell had run his businesses with Philip Harris, 65, of Ferndale Road, Sutton Coldfield, who was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. The pair worked together.

David Dwyer, formerly of Goodrest Lane, Kings Norton, but later of Langford Avenue, Great Barr, was sentenced to four years in prison after being convicted of money laundering.

Dwyer ran a company called Aslan Creations which received substantial cash payments of up to £170,000.

Brian Tucker, 57, of Dyas Road, Great Barr, was jailed for three years for money laundering as part of the scam.

A confiscation hearing where customs officials will attempt to recover money laundered by Sander will be held later this year.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.