‘Ghost broker’ couple jailed over £920k fraud

A Kent couple who acted as ‘ghost’ insurance brokers and used £340,000 gained from tax and motor insurance fraud were sentenced to a total of more than 10 years in prison at Canterbury Crown Court this week.

Elina Jaksone, 36, and Gagik Kyriacos Manucharyan, 40, failed to declare or pay tax on £920,000 earnings as ‘ghost’ insurance brokers.

The court heard that the couple used the proceeds to buy a £365,000 property, two Mercedes vehicles and fund private education. They also took frequent holidays to destinations including Jamaica, Mauritius, Mexico and Tokyo.

Ms Jaksone was sentenced to two years in prison for insurance fraud, two years and two months for tax fraud, and a further 10 months for tax credits fraud. Mr Manucharyan was sentenced to three years imprisonment for insurance fraud, and two years and two months for tax fraud.

The couple’s motor insurance fraud involved the supply of false and misleading information to insurance companies, when arranging policies for their clients. Ms Jaksone and Mr Manucharyan contacted insurance companies posing as their clients, providing limited information.

This allowed the clients, who were mostly Eastern Europeans in the UK, to buy cheaper policies, but the lies meant policies were potentially void.

Ms Jaksone also fraudulently claimed £82,000 in tax credits and pension credits by pretending to be a single mother with high childcare costs.

She used her mother’s details to obtain pension credits and winter fuel allowance payments. Attempts to claim pension credits in the name of her father-in-law failed.

David Margree, assistant director at HM Revenue and Customs, said: “[Ms] Jaksone and [Mr] Manucharyan cheated honest, law abiding people, spending their ill-gotten gains on a lifestyle that many of us can only dream of. They also cheated their customers by providing them with inadequate insurance policies.”