Convicted construction boss ordered to pay £3.5m to HMRC
A convicted construction boss and an accountant have been ordered to repay £3.5m to the HMRC in the next three months or face having their prison sentences extended.
The two men from Kent, construction services company director Victor Shearer and accountant Aquil Ahmed, were originally jailed in October 2016.
They were part of a conspiracy that defrauded HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) of £6.9m in VAT, income tax, national insurance contributions and Construction Industry Scheme deductions through fraudulent payroll schemes.
Ahmed’s Keepers accountancy businesses ran the payroll for Shearer’s company Leaner Logistics Limited. Shearer introduced other clients to the payroll company and use of the fraudulent scheme. Workers believed their taxes were being paid to HMRC, but instead they were lining the men’s pockets.
In June 2016 Ahmed admitted conspiracy to cheat the public revenue. He was jailed for seven years and eight months in October 2016, and disqualified from being a company director for 10 years.
In July 2016 Shearer was convicted of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue and money laundering. He was jailed for seven years and six months, and disqualified from being a company director for 10 years.
The pair have now been ordered to pay back a total of £3,578,999 after confiscation hearings at Maidstone Crown Court. Ahmed must repay £2.9m within three months, or face a further five years in jail and still have to pay up.
Shearer must pay back £646,000 within three months, or face a further three years in jail and still owe the money.
Nicol Sheppard, assistant director, Fraud Investigation Service at HMRC, said: “We do everything we can to stop criminals profiting from their crimes and to recover the money to fund the public purse.
“Ahmed and Shearer stole millions of pounds from the UK economy, using numerous UK and offshore companies to hide their fraud. They were driven by greed, abusing systems that are designed to ensure workers are paid correctly and taxes paid to HMRC.
“They are still serving their prison sentences and if they fail to comply with these orders they will spend even more time behind bars – and still owe the money.”