Ukrainian builder jailed for £500,000 tax fraud

Grant Prior 14 years ago

An illegal Ukrainian immigrant working as a glass installer was at the centre of an organised £500,000 tax fraud involving 350 fictitious people on the Self Assessment system.

Dmytro Shepel, 25, was finally caught by HM Revenue & Customs and jailed for three and a half years following a trial at Woolwich Crown Court this week.

He ran the scam while working for a glazing firm under his false Lithuanian identity. He had also been using a fake National Insurance number to gain employment within the UK.

Shepel registered 350 fictitious people on the Self Assessment tax system. False tax repayment claims were then made for 218 of these cases. In total he tried to steal almost £650,000 of taxpayers’ money.

Shepel had been living in the UK under a false Lithuanian identity and his fake passport was used to open 74 bank accounts over two years, which then received a number of fraudulent repayments.

When HMRC officers raided Shepel’s address they found diaries and documents containing lists of fake identities used to fraudulently reclaim tax rebates as well as blank Self Assessment registration forms.

Officers found fake identities and bank account details in Shepel’s mobile phone memory. When checked, these bank accounts had been used to receive thousands of pounds of fake repayment cash.

Simon Grunwell, Assistant Director of HMRC Criminal Investigations, said: “This was a criminal plot which deprived the nation’s public services of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

“HMRC takes fraud extremely seriously. In common with commercial financial organisations, we face attempts by individuals and organised criminals to steal from us and we have processes in place to detect and counter fraudulent repayments claims.

“These are kept under constant review to ensure we are able to deal effectively with ever evolving threats.”

Shepel (also known as Dimitrijus Kubartas) lived in Kidbrooke, London and pleaded guilty to cheating the public revenue and possessing an identity document that was false.

He was sentenced for both offences to three and a half years and 12 months to run concurrently and will be deported upon his release.

The total amount Shepel attempted to claim was £645,721.42 and £559,497.42 was paid out.

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