Accountant from Milton Keynes who was behind a string of fake companies is jailed for VAT fraud

He devised the scheme to bolster his own finances, court hears

Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 3:12 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 8:58 am

An accountant who was behind a string of fake limited companies to make fraudulent claims for VAT repayments has been jailed for two years.

Daniel Hashem, who lives in Saffron Street in Bletchley, devised the scheme to bolster his own finances, St Albans Crown Court heard.

He then involved others to set up fake businesses for more claims to be made.

Hashem was jailed for two years

As an accountant, 32-year-old Hashem made sure he was the person who submitted all the phoney claims so that they had the “veneer of legitimacy,” the court was told.

He pleaded guilty to eight charges of being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of VAT.

Prosecutor Janet Weeks said the fraud ran for around five years from 2013 to 2018. In that time, fraudulent VAT claims for £123,296 were submitted and £115,278 was paid out by HMRC.

Hashem’s benefit had been around £20,000, said the prosecutor.

The court was told Hashem had first set up two bogus companies - Composs Fruit & Veg Ltd and Hackney Meat Centre Ltd.

Miss Weeks said the companies never actually traded, but had been set up solely for the purpose of allowing Hashem to make fraudulent claims for VAT.

Judge Michael Kay QC was told Hashem then got others to set up similar bogus businesses so similar frauds could be carried out.

He heard Hashem has since paid back all the benefit he personally received as a result of his dishonesty - just over £20,000.

Passing sentence, Judge Kay told Hashem he had been the “architect” of the fraudulent scheme and had brought in others to set up other business so that the claims could be submitted.

“This was a fraud solely to obtain money out of the public purse” he said, adding “You were playing a leading role in this group activity.”

The judge said he had abused his position as a qualified accountant by submitting the claims on behalf of himself and the others because he knew such claims would then be seen as “trustworthy.”

He told Hashem: “You are a qualified accountant and you devised a scheme where you and others could make money through a VAT fraud from the public purse. It was not a one off, a momentary lapse in a business which was legitimate. This was a fraud from the outset involving a number of companies.”

He jailed Hashem for two years.