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The final defendant to be sentenced, Harbans Singh Joli, was given a 2 year and 6 month spell in prison at Birmingham Crown Court.

The investigations by HMRC began in April 2002 and finally, after seven trials and retrials, all 21 members of the gang have now been sentenced.

The crime related to the fraudulent manipulation of the Value Added Tax system through the import and expert of CPUs (Computer Processing Units).

The gang imported CPUs from Ireland with no VAT included but then sold them on with VAT added, together with false invoices.

Once the goods had been sold on a number of times, they were exported back to the European Union and the exporter claimed a VAT credit from HMRC for VAT paid on the purchase of the goods.

The 21 members of the gang laundered the profits through 12 different bank accounts.

The owners of these accounts then withdrew the cash whilst receiving commission.

The money is then believed to have been invested in a third of a tonne of gold bullion, property in Dubai and a luxury flat near Harrods.

The scheme was described by Adrian Farley, HMRC assistant director of criminal investigations, as ‘organised crime on a massive scale’.

After a lengthy investigation and the stress of 5 trials and 2 retrials, HMRC have finally got the result they were looking for.

We read about stories of people being sent to prison for their involvement in VAT fraud every day so it beggars belief as to why these criminals actually think they will get away with it.

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