Two local men have been sentenced for their parts in a £1 million VAT fraud scheme.
Stanley Miller, 48, of Dinnington, and Simon Spurr, 31, of Thurcroft, were part of a nine-man gang who pretended to be butchers, then made fraudulent VAT refund claims by faking invoices.
Miller pleaded guilty to one count of cheating the public revenue and one count of laundering criminal property and was sentenced to 12 months in prison for each count, suspended for two years.
Spurr pleaded guilty to one count of cheating the public revenue and one count of laundering criminal property and was ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work.
The gang was headed by former butcher Kaiser Matlub, from Sheffield, who had owned Ossett Abbatoir but stopped trading in 2003. However, he continued to make VAT refund claims using faked documents, claiming to trade in meat products.
Matlub alleged he was paying VAT on the purchase of sheep carcasses from a local abattoir. He claimed his company was then ‘dressing’ the carcasses, selling on meat products to wholesalers in Yorkshire, on which VAT was not due. This enabling him to reclaim the VAT he had paid when buying the carcasses.
However, the supply chain did not exist and investigators found substantial evidence that Matlub had simply created false invoices, receipts and paperwork to support his multiple fraudulent refund claims, totalling £275,000.
Matlub shared the scam with friends and family, advising them, for a fee, how to register for VAT as butchers and carry out their own versions of the fraud.
The fraud was uncovered after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs investigators.
The other gang members were Zaheer Yousaf, Vacaas Mahroof and Paul Crapper, all from Sheffield, Jarrel Clark, of no fixed abode, Mohammadh Ajaib Khan, from Nelson, and James O’Keefe, from Surrey.
At Leeds Crown Court, Matlub and Clark both received four-year sentences while Yousaf, Mahroof, Crapper and Khan all received suspended sentences ranging from 12 to 24 months. O’Keefe was ordered to do 99 hours of unpaid work.