Birmingham twins jailed for £450k charity tax scam

image sourceHMRC
image captionThe twins set up bogus charities in order to fraudulently claim Gift Aid, according to HMRC investigators

Twin brothers who set up fake charities to steal more than £450,000 in Gift Aid repayments have been jailed.

Arfan and Imran Ali, 30, both of Inverclyde Road, Birmingham, claimed to be trustees of charities providing clean water to third world countries.

But an HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation found them to be fraudsters who failed to provide any services or money for good causes.

At trials, they were found guilty of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue.

Imran Ali was convicted at Birmingham Crown Court in July 2017 and sentenced to five years in prison.

But his twin brother failed to turn up to court and was arrested by HMRC officers in October.

At Birmingham Crown Court on Monday, Arfan Ali was given a prison sentence of four years and eight months.

HMRC said the pair used aliases to set up charities and submitted claims for Gift Aid repayments based on bogus donations between May 2009 and August 2012, also using the details of a legitimate charity to submit further fraudulent Gift Aid claims.

The scheme allows charities to reclaim tax on a donation.

The £456,408 the brothers falsely claimed, HMRC said, would have needed £1.2m in legitimate donations, but the charities' bank accounts showed "nowhere near this figure".

The brothers instead, it said, withdrew large amounts of cash for themselves, or transferred it to the bank accounts of their businesses, which included catering companies and a convenience store.

'Utterly wrong'

Paul Fisher, assistant director of HMRC's Fraud Investigation Service said: "The brothers knew what they were doing was utterly wrong but didn't care."

Both will face proceeds of crime hearings in due course in a bid to reclaim some of the money.

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