Organised Shropshire tax racket responsible for £200,000 in false claims is smashed

Telford | News | Published:

Investigators have smashed a large-scale tax racket involving dozens of cheats who made false claims from the public purse totalling £200,000.

The co-ordinated fraud involved 69 people from Shropshire who submitted fake self assessment returns to make claims for rebates between 2010 and 2012.

The scale of the scam was revealed for the first time today as investigators released figures on those arrested and how much they have been forced to pay back.

Officers from HM Revenue and Customs believe many of those involved were duped into signing tax returns they had not read or understood in return for commissiont.

Ten cheats have so far been prosecuted and the taxman has also taken civil action against 59 others, of whom 25 were given a police caution.

In total £154,112 of the missing money has been recouped from those involved to date and they have been ordered to pay £25,880 in penalties plus interest of £4,328.

Earlier this month unemployed Stephen Buxton, 24, of Dukes View, Donnington, who was paid almost £4,000 in overpayments that he was not entitled to was sentenced to a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs £620 and victims' surcharge £15 at Telford Magistrates Court. Buxton claimed he was approached by someone who had set up a stand in Telford town centre.

Nine other people were also given conditional discharges at court and ordered to repay sums for their role in the scam that is believed to have involved up to 91 people.

These are Leeann Bennett, 27, of Trench Road, Trench, who was ordered to repay £1,935 plus £185 costs; Thomas McHale, 23, of East Avenue, Donnington, who was ordered to repay £1,935 plus £185 costs; Samuel Moore, 22, of Birch Dale Avenue, Wrockwardine Wood, was ordered to repay £1,950.45 plus £185 costs; Amy Managh, 24, of Hartshill Avenue, Oakengates was ordered to repay £1,813 plus £185 costs; Samuel Morris, 22, of Iris Crescent, Wrockwardine Wood, was ordered to repay £1,935 plus £185 costs; Bethany Oliver, 22, of Martin Road, Wellington Road, was ordered to repay £1,839 plus £185 costs; Claire Suddell, 25, of Bromley Way, was ordered to repay £1,895 plus £185 costs; Mark Blair, 41, of Lord Murray Drive, Telford, was ordered to repay £9,265.57 plus £185 costs; and Joseph Luther Harvey, 24, of Harvey Crescent, Arleston, was told to pay £1,863. All must pay £15 victims' surcharge.

They all admitted the fraudulent evasion of income tax by submitting or allowing to be submitted a claim for repayment of income tax to which they knew they were not entitled to.

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