Construction VAT fraudster ordered to pay back £2.2m

Grant Prior 2 months ago
Share

A convicted construction VAT fraudster from Lancashire must repay more than £2.2m.

Salim Sakaria, 46, of Preston, was one of the key players in an 11-strong crime gang that attempted to steal £4.2m between 2009 and 2011.

The gang, led by Sakaria, set up 19 fake construction companies, used ‘puppet’ directors, fake invoices and bogus building contracts for housing developments as a smokescreen to hide their criminal activity.

People were paid up to £35,000 to act as directors and allow the gang to use their names and addresses for the bogus companies to claim illegal VAT refunds.

Twenty companies were repaid £2,932,084 for fake VAT claims before HMRC froze repayments.

Voice recognition technology showed Sakaria contacted HMRC by phone about the fraudulent VAT repayments.

Sakaria has now been ordered to repay £2,276,149 within three months or serve a further compulsory seven and a half years in jail as a default sentence.

Sakaria, who worked at Forte Accountants in Preston, lied about being an accountant.

HMRC investigators found that as well as owning six properties in the Preston area valued at £408,464, a designer watch and a Mercedes Benz car, he had almost £2m in cash generated by the fraud some of which had been transferred to Dubai.

HMRC investigators arranged a restraint of Sakaria’s assets while the confiscation proceedings progressed through the courts. Any sale of the restrained assets will now be used to fund the confiscation payment.

Latest news

All tower block cladding checked so far fails fire test

Cladding on 34 high-rise blocks in 17 local authorities fail combustibiltiy tests
5 hours ago

Crewe crane collapse victim was teenager on first job

Police identify both victims after crane came down while being erected
23 hours ago

Celotex to stop supply of Grenfell insulation to towers

Insulation giant halts supply for rainscreen cladding systems to high-rise buildings
2 days ago

Police consider manslaughter charges after Grenfell fire

Detectives "seizing relevant material from a number of organisations"
2 days ago

Council chief sounds warning over Battersea build costs

Wandsworth planning chairman claims project is facing "significant challenges"
2 days ago

Over 200 Birmingham tower blocks to get sprinklers

Council could delay its building projects to fund £31m retrofit programme
2 days ago

First tests reveal combustible cladding on 11 towers

Up to 600 towers need to be checked
3 days ago

Safety alarm raised over fall in HSE construction visits

Surprise site visits by inspectors drop by 14%
2 days ago

Plans for 35-storey Manchester student tower

Unite unveils plan for 600-bed student block near Oxford Road station
2 days ago

London’s Camden Council to strip cladding from five towers

Chalcots Estate project was delivered by Grenfell contractors Rydon and Harley Facades
3 days ago

Contractors urged to stop asking site chefs for skills cards

Firms urged to use common sense over allowing non-construction staff on sites
2 days ago

Planning thumbs up for £150m Lincoln shopping centre

St Marks shopping centre owner Standard Life plans to start work in 2020
2 days ago

Two killed in crane collapse on Crewe construction site

Tower crane comes down on Seddon site
4 days ago

Berkeley cleared to fast-track scheme for Grenfell survivors

Homes and Communities Agency strike deal to buy Kensington Row luxury apartment scheme
4 days ago

Buckingham Group targets £500m revenue in 2018

Profits soar as firm eyes swelling pipeline of stadium projects.
4 days ago

Five more Edinburgh schools found with building defects

Investigation reveals more schools in Edinburgh suffered wall-tie defects
3 days ago

Galliford/Lagan jv wins £135m RAF Marham hangar

New hangar will house a dozen F-35B vertical take-off jets
4 days ago

CIOB sets up commission to probe control of build quality

Paul Nash to lead urgent review into behaviour that undermines quality in construction
4 days ago

Barratt names new finance boss

Barratt promotes Jessica White to top financial executive
3 days ago

Opinion: Construction must say never again to another Grenfell

The industry must break with its lowest cost culture
4 days ago

Profits soar at Berkeley despite housing market uncertainty

Berkeley worried about Brexit impact on skills as half its site labour comes from EU
4 days ago

Hewden sell-off raises £120m but trade creditors get pennies

More than £41m was owed to plant hire giant's trade creditors
4 days ago

New Bovis Homes boss buys extra £2m shares

Greg Fitzgerald raises his shareholding to around £3.2m
4 days ago

Kier and Bouygues look for London subcontractors

Major meet the buyer event in the capital next week: Register now
5 days ago

Croydon council to retrofit 25 towers with sprinklers

Council to start £10m sprinkler programme in tallest housing blocks
5 days ago

Yorkshire builder’s MBO deal sowed seeds of own demise

George Hurst & Sons never recovered from an MBO a decade ago saddling the business with debt
5 days ago

Queensferry Crossing to open on August 30

End in sight for contractors who have battled against high winds for six years
5 days ago

Councils ordered to check rainscreening on all buildings

Government to fund fire rating tests on all aluminium composite material clad buildings
6 days ago

Morgan Sindall infrastructure boss to join Lagan

Nick Fletcher to return to Lagan as Chief Operating Officer
6 days ago

Architect makes loss as construction market peaks

Aukett Swanke struggling for commissions as market hits "bottom of the cycle"
5 days ago

Contractor services