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Burnley man's fake butcher gang £1million fraud
A BOGUS butcher used fake invoices to claim VAT repayments on slaughtered sheep carcasses as part of a £1million scam.
Mohammed Ajaib Khan, 46, from Burnley, was one of nine men who became embroiled in the scam engineered by ex-butcher Kaiser Matlub.
Matlub, 47, and his lieutenant Jarrel Clark, 39, enlisted friends and family, including Khan, into the fraud.
Prosecutors told Leeds Crown Court that the bogus butchers would each claim they were paying VAT on sheep carcasses, which had been purchased from a local abattoir.
They claimed work was then carried out to ‘dress’ the meat, before it was sold on, sometimes as lamb chops to wholesalers, where VAT was not due. This gave a supposedly legitimate reason for the butcher to reclaim VAT, the court heard.
But investigations by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs department revealed that none of the various firms registered by the nine, between 2005 and 2010, were actually legitimate and none of the alleged butchery transactions had in fact taken place.
The bogus butchers had created a web of false invoices and receipts and a string of false company names in a bid to cover their tracks.
Several arrests were made in December 2012 and the nine including Khan, were later interviewed and charged by HMRC.
Khan, formerly of Clegg Street, Nelson, but now of Barden Lane, Burnley, denied cheating the public revenue and laundering criminal property but was found guilty by a jury in July after a trial.
He was given a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years, by Judge Rodney Jameson QC who said they were serious offences with the public purse being defrauded of at least £907,000.
Ringleader Matlub and Clark, from Rotherham and Sheffield respectively, were jailed for four years each and six other men, all from the South Yorkshire area, who either admitted or were convicted of similar offences, were given either suspended prison sentences or community service.
Matlub originally ran Osset Abbatoir but the company had ceased trading in 2003. He began involving his friends and family in the scam for a fee, for which he would guide them through the process, including advising them how to register for VAT as butchers and carry out their own versions of the fraud.
Speaking after the case Sandra Smith, HMRC’s assistant director for criminal investigation, said the sham companies were established with the sole intention of stealing taxes.
She added: “These were the actions of a group of people who decided it was better not to follow the rules, but who are now counting the cost of trying to rip off honest taxpayers.”