A FORMER South Yorkshire police officer has admitted a £300 million VAT fraud – believed to be the biggest in UK history.
Nigel Cranswick, of Danby Road, Kiveton, was a director of Ideas 2 Go (I2G).
The 47-year-old ran the company from a small office in a Sheffield business park and claimed to have bought and sold at least £2 billion of goods in just eight months.
He has since admitted the firm’s trading, largely in mobile phones and computer software, was fictitious and the aim was to generate paperwork from fake sales to claim back a fortune in VAT from HM Revenue & Customs.
A source close to the case, which has taken five years to investigate, said it was believed to be the largest of its kind ever taken to court.
Prosecution documents said: “In its eight-month trading life, I2G’s business documentation reveal it purported to buy and sell goods in many thousands of deals, to the value of at least £2 billion. This included about £300 million of VAT, which it was purportedly charged by its suppliers.”
“The trade was not genuine and this £300 million was the target of the defendants. Despite this phenomenal turnover of over £2 billion, I2G operated from a very small and modest office accommodation in a Sheffield business park.”
Cranswick, who is nicknamed ‘Cranni’ and plays in a band, admitted conspiracy to cheat HMRC at Newcastle Crown Court.
Charges against his wife Nicola, of the same address, were ordered to lie on file. Brian Olive, 56, of Buttermere Close, Doncaster, and Darren Smyth, 42, of Beech Road, Maltby, admitted the same charge. Cranswick’s sister Clare Reid, 44, of the same address as Smyth, admitted two counts of false accounting. They will be sentenced next month.