Two Havering men jailed in connection with £2.4million VAT scam

Jailed: Gang stole more than £2.4m in VAT payments. Clockwise from top left: Michael Myatt, Susanne

Jailed: Gang stole more than £2.4m in VAT payments. Clockwise from top left: Michael Myatt, Susanne Green, Michael Perry, Arthur Lee, Daniel Weidner, Stephen Maish. Photo: Met Police - Credit: Archant

Two Havering men have been jailed for their involvement in a gang stealing more than £2.4million in VAT payments.

The six-member gang were this week found guilty at Southwark Crown Court of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue.

Among the gang members were Arthur Walter Lee, 55, formerly of Slewins Lane, Hornchurch and Michael James Myatt, 56, of Elms Close, Hornchurch who both plead not guilty.

Lee has been jailed for four years and six months, to run concurrently, and is disqualified from being a director for five years.

Myatt has been sentenced to two years in jail and is disqualified from being a director for three years.

The gang used insider knowledge provided by former tax office worker Susanne Green, 38, from Moray, Scotland, to fraudulently claim millions in VAT repayments.

She was described by the judge as the ‘linchpin’ of the fraud.

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A three year investigation uncovered a highly organised fraud and found former HMRC employee Green had used her position working in the Electronic Payments Team in Southend, Essex, to identify unallocated VAT payments and fraudulently pay them elsewhere.

The other gang members jailed for conspiracy to cheat the public revenue are Susanne Green, 38, of Seafield Street, Moray; Michael David Perry, 46, Westbury Road, Southend of Sea; Daniel James Weidner, 47, Sandy Lane, Eastleigh, Stephen John Maish, 54, Willow Road, Wigan.

Joff Parsons, assistant director, Internal Governance Criminal Investigations, Fraud Investigation Services, HMRC, said:

“Green, Lee, Perry and Weidner were at the forefront of a highly sophisticated fraud.

“As an HMRC employee Green was trusted with the sensitive information she was dealing with on a daily basis, but she abused her position and was pivotal to the theft.

“The defendants used a network of front companies to receive the fraudulent payments and to launder the proceeds.”

The investigation came to light when a legitimate taxpayer of an unallocated payment queried why their payment to HMRC had not credited its VAT account.

During the course of the enquiry a vigilant HMRC employee noticed that this payment had been misallocated and that a further three payments had also been misallocated to the same incorrect trader.

In all four instances the payments had been handled by Susanne Green.

Green had used the proceeds of her ill-gotten gains to pay for a Toyota Rav4 car and for expensive holidays, including one to Las Vegas. Confiscation proceedings to recover the gang’s criminal profits are ongoing.