An Angus VAT fraudster has avoided further jail time after paying back half-a-million pounds to the public purse.
Forfar man Albert Amritanand, who was part of an 18-strong crime gang that stole £20 million in a mobile phone VAT fraud, has now stumped up the £137,000 remainder of his ill-gotten gains.
Amritanand, 69, who is almost due for release, previously paid £365,000 towards his Confiscation Order but applied to the court for more time to pay.
Kevin Newe, assistant director of the HMRC’s fraud investigation service, said: “In addition to his lengthy prison sentence, Amritanand has now had to repay £502,214 for his part in this complex VAT repayment fraud.
“Ongoing confiscation proceedings by HMRC have now resulted in confiscation orders of over £3 million in criminal assets from the gang involved in this fraud, and further proceedings will follow.
“We’re determined crime gangs, such as this one, should be prosecuted and then made to repay their criminal gain.
“This is a good result for the honest majority of taxpayers and sends a clear message that crime doesn’t pay.”
Amritanand and former Forfar man Gareth Johnson, 47, were involved in the carousel fraud, which stretched across Andorra, Dubai, Hong Kong, USA, Switzerland, Portugal and the UK.
Armitanand and Johnson were sentenced to five years and 12 years respectively in 2013, but Johnson went on the run before he could be brought to trial.
Amritanand, of Reswallie, Murton, was Dubai-based Tectonics Holdings’ bookkeeper and the ‘money mover’ for accounts under his control.
Johnson, previously of Turin, Forfar, played an integral role in the fraud as the money laundering arm of the operation.
The arrests followed a 24-month investigation by HMRC codenamed Operation Vaulter.
Carousel fraud, also known as MTIC fraud, has been a major problem for the taxman.
Small high-value goods such as mobile phones are bought VAT-free then sold on without paying the VAT, with the company going missing.
The gang claimed to be importing mobile phones from various EU countries VAT free. In many instances the goods did not exist.
False paperwork showed the phones being sold on in the UK more cheaply, but with VAT added, through a chain of companies. In reality, one company had imported the phones and sold them to another who immediately exported them to EU countries via a corrupt freight forwarding company.
The exporter, Euro Cellular, would then claim a credit from HMRC for the VAT they said had been paid on the purchase of the goods.