False Tax Repayments
A Suffolk businessman has been imprisoned for seven years after he admitted claiming £2.7m in false tax repayments. Roderick Chisholm Roy used different aliases in what HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) described as a "complex fraud", Croydon Crown Court heard.
The 59-year-old, of Glevering Mill, Wickham Market, forged documents, set up bogus companies and opened bank accounts to siphon off the money, HMRC said.
Customs officers linked documents found at Roy's house to all of his aliases and digital face mapping technology linked him to fake identity documents, which he had used to open bank accounts and set up companies.
He was also linked to other incriminating documents, including some that he had signed to obtain false VAT repayments.
Roy's aliases in Nigeria and the USA were tracked down with the help of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and US Immigration & Customs Enforcement.
Judge Nicholas Ainley told Roy: "A custodial sentence was inevitable. You are a Walter Mitty character and central to this fraud, even continuing after part of the fraud was discovered."
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Sarah Wallace from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "Prosecuting authorities are increasingly making use of more advanced investigation techniques such as the recent examples of ear print analysis and facial recognition. The use of these techniques has been less common in cases involving financial crime, where typically the use of forensic accountants or asset tracing experts is the norm.
"The investigation team have also appeared to rely on the help of multi-juriscational agencies to assist gather the evidence from overseas, which demonstrates the increasing 'joined up thinking' of the global community in the fight against financial crime.
"It is becoming ever more important for those involved in criminal trials to have an in depth grasp of the complex issues behind these types of evidence in order to respond effectively to the specific legal and evidential challenges."
In November 2007 The Finance Act 2007 received Royal Assent. It extends the powers and safeguards available to officers of HMRC to investigate offences such as VAT fraud. The new powers relate to the way in which HMRC may obtain production orders and search warrants and extends HMRC's powers of arrest and ancillary powers in connection with arrests. Individuals should be aware of these new powers and how they may be affected if they find themselves the subject of an investigation brought by HMRC.