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Jailed IT recycling boss must repay £76k

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A COMPANY director from Warrington who committed tax fraud and laundered money for an organised crime gang, must repay £76,000 or face more time in jail.

Douglas Brown, of Springfield Avenue, used his IT recycling company to wash money for the gang, which stole more than £2.6 million in VAT repayments, a HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation revealed.

Brown, 57, was jailed for four years and one month in April 2018, after being convicted of money laundering and stealing almost £100,000 in VAT repayments himself. Brown has now been ordered to repay £76,439 within three months or face an extra 12 months behind bars.

HMRC investigators discovered that Brown laundered money for a criminal gang that used fake companies to make more than 80 fraudulent VAT repayment claims. Twenty-three men from the West Midlands, Nottinghamshire and West Yorkshire were jailed for more than 54 years in 2016 for the fraud.

Diccon Wood, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, said: “Brown has already been jailed but our work doesn’t stop there. Now he must pay back the stolen money or face more time behind bars. Crime doesn’t pay which is why Brown faces losing his home and the flat he bought with his ill-gotten gains.

“HMRC will continue to pursue criminals until they repay the money they stole from honest taxpayers. We urge anyone with information about tax fraud or money laundering to contact us online or to call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

Brown, who ran Recycle Technology Ltd on Hoyle Street, Warrington, claimed £99,787 in fraudulent VAT repayments between April 2012 and June 2013, with £94,156 being paid and the rest withheld by HMRC. He also laundered £10,955 of criminal money through his business in 2010.

Brown claimed to repair computer monitors before selling them to customers in Africa. But HMRC found it was a scam to steal VAT repayments, with each stage of the transaction chain backed up with fake documents.

Information about any type of tax fraud can be reported to HMRC online at https://www.gov.uk/report-an-unregistered-trader-or-business.

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