After a lengthy investigation spanning three years, HMRC raided 7 houses in July 2009 and found a ‘production line’ of fraud, uncovering hundreds of bank cards, £360,000 in cash along with a stash of weaponry.
The gang used fake identities in order to claim tax rebates and set up bogus companies to appear on false self-assessment returns as employers.
The fraudsters set up false identities by using bogus passports and other documents and then submitted more than 1,600 phony self-assessment returns for make-believe foreign migrants claiming they had worked in the UK and overpaid income tax.
They also opened more than 750 bank accounts in order to receive the repayments from HMRC and used the money to pay for their lavish lifestyle by buying sports cars, renting luxury apartments and using call girls.
The gang had tried to reclaim more than £8 million in income tax repayments but HMRC stopped many of the payments after uncovering their fraudulent status.
The 11 gang members, led by Volodymyr Panchak, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cheat the public revenue and were jailed for a total of 42 years and 10 months.
Panchak also pleaded guilty to possession of false identity documents.
There is no chance of the money being recovered and there is no news, as of yet, as to whether the criminals will be sent home to the Ukraine after their prison sentences.