It is alleged that the organised crime gang claimed to be trading in construction industry equipment and concrete crushing machines.
The gang of 12 were arrested under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 in relation to a ‘missing trader’ fraud, in which a fabricated chain of companies reclaim VAT that was never actually paid on the sale of exported equipment. HMRC criminal investigators are dubious as to whether the goods actually ever existed.
Paperwork was seized in the dawn raids alongside live ammunition, CS spray and an imitation firearm.
Adrian Farley, assistant director of criminal investigation for HMRC said:-
“Today’s arrests are a result of many months of investigation across the UK to unravel what is believed to be a major fraud.
One of our key priorities is to identify the abuse of our tax systems by organised crime gangs stealing vast amounts of public money for their own gain.
Working closely with other law enforcement agencies we will unravel cases of complex fraud and bring those responsible before the courts.”
The twelve arrested were done so at residential properties, and one business property, in Staffordshire, Cheshire, Manchester and Suffolk.