Hove tax fraudster jailed for 10 years

Posted On 30 Oct 2021 at 1:16 pm

A tax fraudster from Hove has been jailed for 10 years for dodging millions of pounds of VAT (value added tax).

Shafqat Majeed, 52, of Dyke Road Avenue, Hove, was the ringleader of a £16 million scam built on smuggled alcohol and a complex network of fake businesses and forged paperwork.

The details have emerged as the criminal cases involving the final five members of the gang came to an end – with all 11 members sentenced to more than 34 years in total.

Majeed, also known as Chas Majeed, was once the chairman of Crawley Town Football Club and a bankrupt.

He was found guilty of cheating the public revenue and excise fraud and jailed for 10 years in November 2019.

Clare Hill, who turns 53 tomorrow (Sunday 31 October), of Lancaster Court, Kingsway, Hove, played a leading role in the conspiracy and oversaw the administration of the fraud.

Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said: “She was involved in setting up the sham network and submitting fraudulent VAT returns for each business in the supply chain.

“Hill worked alongside Casey Ruse, 42, to create false business documents. When Ruse was arrested, she was carrying a hard drive which contained copies of the documents.”

Hill, who like Majeed is currently in prison, was also found guilty of cheating the public revenue and excise fraud and was jailed for seven years in prison in November 2019.

Ruse, 42, of Roman Road, Southwick, was found guilty of cheating the public revenue and jailed for three and a half years at the same time.

Majeed ran the fraud through a wholesale business called South Coast Wholesale, with premises in Eastern Avenue, Shoreham, under the name of Palace Drinks.

Revenue and Customs said that Majeed spearheaded the VAT and excise fraud “while living a life of luxury and driving flash cars”.

He and 10 other gang members were sentenced after two separate trials and sentencing hearings at Southwark Crown Court, in London.

Confiscation proceedings are ongoing to recover the stolen VAT and excise duty.

Shafqat Majeed also known as Chas Majeed

Revenue and Customs said: “An investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) revealed the gang used a sophisticated network of fictitious businesses and created a trail of false paperwork on an industrial scale to cover up the conspiracy.”

Zoe Ellerbeck, the operational lead at HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, said: “This was a highly sophisticated fraud which deprived £16 million from our public services, NHS and emergency services that so many of us depend on.

“Majeed and his associates committed serious crimes and now they have to face the life-changing consequences.

“The majority of individuals and businesses pay the tax that is due. However, there remains a determined minority who refuse to play by the rules.

“We encourage anyone with information about tax crime to report it online, or call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

Casey Ruse

Revenue and Customs said: “Majeed, also known as Chas, lived in a million-pound home and orchestrated a criminal operation where huge quantities of alcohol was smuggled into the UK and sold via a wholesale company under his control called South Coast Wholesale Ltd.

“The company operated from two premises – Palace Drinks, in Shoreham, and Kaka Cash and Carry, in Manchester.

“Majeed and his associates set up and used a fake network of businesses and supply chains, supported by reams of paperwork detailing fictitious transactions, to cheat the VAT system and evade paying excise duty.

“The artificially created supply chain made it appear that the goods had been bought and sold through a series of companies before being sold on to the UK market by South Coast Wholesale Ltd, and resulted in the theft of more than £4.8 million in VAT.

“The network of businesses was also used to cover up the supply of smuggled alcohol goods and evade paying £11.9 million in excise duty.

“Majeed tried to distance himself from the fraud by naming gang members as company directors or using stolen identities.

“But HMRC investigators proved that he had control over the companies and their trading activities.”

Those involved were

  • Shafqat Majeed, 52, of Dyke Road Avenue, Hove, jailed in November 2019 for 10 years after being found guilty of cheating the public revenue and excise fraud
  • Clare Hill, 52, of Lancaster Court, Kingsway, Hove, jailed in November 2019 for seven years after being found guilty of cheating the public revenue and excise fraud
  • Ahmer Shafiq, also known as Ricky, 37, of Darleydale, Crawley, jailed in July last year for five and a half years after he admitted cheating the public revenue and excise fraud. The court also imposed a “serious crime prevention order” which will start when he is released from prison and last for five years.
  • Casey Ruse, 42, of Roman Road, Southwick, jailed in November 2019 for three and a half years after being found guilty of cheating the public revenue.
  • Zoheb Malik, also known as Raza Malik, 35, of Moorland Road, Crawley, jailed in November 2019 for three and a half years after being found guilty of excise fraud.
  • Jibran Khan, 37, of Lundy Close, Crawley, jailed in November 2019 for three years after being found guilty of excise fraud.
  • Sayed Shah, 53, of Commonwealth Drive, Crawley, sentenced on Thursday (28 October) to two years in prison, suspended for two years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to cheat the public revenue.
  • Daniel Booth, 52, of Commercial Road, Burgess Hill, sentenced on Thursday to two years in prison, suspended for two years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to cheat the public revenue.
  • Rahid Akram Khan, 37, of Midland Road, Nuneaton, sentenced on Thursday to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work after pleading guilty to conspiracy to cheat the public revenue.
  • Mohammed Arfan Sadiq, 38, of Gilnow Road, Bolton, sentenced on Thursday to 16 months in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 160 hours of unpaid work after pleading guilty to conspiracy to cheat the public revenue.
  • Liam Chenaf, 43, of Woodfield Road, Crawley, sentenced on Thursday to 15 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to complete 180 hours of unpaid work after pleading guilty to conspiracy to cheat the public revenue.

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