Tax Investigation prosecutes fraudster who claimed payments from beyond the grave

A businessman used deceased people’s details to claim payments from beyond the grave in a £400,000 charity fraud.

Abu Talib Ghadiri, aged 34, was found guilty for his involvement in a £400,000 Gift Aid and VAT fraud, after an intensive tax investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The investigation found that Ghadiri, from Harrow in Middlesex, along with his brother, Mohsin Raza, aged 33, were running a Gift Aid fraud linked to two charities – the Fatimiyya Trust and The Light Charity. Both charities falsely claimed to promote education, development of medical centres and help for victims of natural disasters in Pakistan.

In addition, Ghadiri made false VAT repayment claims for £47,000, which were linked to seven bogus companies. Ghadiri claimed that the companies had been set up by his estranged ex-girlfriend and he was not involved, despite his home serving as the registered address and his National Insurance number being connected to each of the company accounts.

However, Ghadiri’s former girlfriend set the record straight, telling Harrow Crown Court that Ghadiri was in control of the companies and was simply using her details to avoid getting caught.

Martin Brown, Assistant Director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, which conducted the tax investigation, said: “Gift Aid is there to support and encourage charitable giving, not to enable greedy criminals to line their own pockets. This kind of fraud is illegal, offensive and wrong. HMRC will come down on it hard.”

Ghadiri made false Gift Aid repayments claims for the Fatimiyya Trust of almost £82,250 – £58,524 of which was paid – and with co-trustee Mohsin Raza claimed £199,788 for The Light Charity of which £116,369.68 was repaid.

They listed donations from deceased taxpayers, sometimes months after their deaths and used the details of ineligible taxpayers on the forms to claim the repayments.

In a separate fraud, which was uncovered during the HMRC tax investigation, Salih Ozbay, 38, an associate of Ghadiri and company secretary of Smart Price Builders Ltd, made a false VAT repayment claim to HMRC for £69,442.Ozbay was arrested by HMRC on suspicion of VAT fraud linked to Smart Price Builders Ltd.

Ghadiri and his associates, Raza and Ozbay, are currently awaiting sentencing.

Dr Anjulika Salhan, a director and tax investigation specialist with Salhan Accountants commented: “HMRC has become extremely litigious in recent years and their enhanced criminal investigation powers can result in substantial fines as well as lengthy prison sentences.

“We have represented a number of individuals who, for a variety of reasons, have found themselves in breach of HMRC regulations. As with all HMRC matters, tax investigations need to be dealt with as a matter of urgency.”

At Salhan Accountants, we work extremely hard for clients subjected to a taxation investigation. We not only clarify the issues and the process, but come up with solutions too. Our experience, professional reputation, forensic attention to detail and negotiating skills mean we are well-placed to achieve positive outcomes.

“Whether an individual or company, talking to us is your best step towards addressing a taxation investigation and moving on with your life.”

 For more information about our taxation investigation services, please contact us.