CompaniesOct 22 2012

Gambling adviser jailed for £900k client tax fraud

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ByMichael Trudeau

A financial adviser has been imprisoned for five years after gambling away £130,000 of a fraudulent £900,000 client tax repayment at London casinos.

Mohammad Izhar Ul Haq, 59, committed fraud by forging a bank guarantee from the Bank of America, allowing his client to claim £898,720 in VAT repayment from HM Revenue and Customs.

Mr Haq then lied about his whereabouts to investigators to avoid jail, saying he had fallen ill in Pakistan and submitting medical certificates to the court to prove he could not return to the UK for trial.

However, HMRC later found CCTV footage showing Mr Haq gambling in a casino in London while he was supposedly sick in Pakistan.

Attempting to mitigate his involvement in the fraud, Mr Haq claimed his fee was only £20,000 when in fact he received more than £200,000, of which £130,000 he gambled away.

Found guilty of obtaining fraudulent VAT repayments and sentenced on 19 October at Harrow Crown Court, he has also been banned from entering a casino and gambling online for three years after his release.

Martin Brown, assistant director of HMRC Criminal Investigation, said: “Mr Haq presented himself as a trustworthy financial adviser, but instead he showed that he was an ingenious document forger.

“HMRC will not tolerate attacks on public funds. We will investigate anyone found attempting tax fraud and protect taxpayers’ money from criminals like Mr Haq.”