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Burton man Sibtain Ali is sentenced after laundering £32,000 in VAT fraud case

By rhea_turner  |  Posted: June 19, 2017

Sibtain Ali, who laundered £32,000, has been dealt with at Stafford Crown Court

Sibtain Ali, who laundered £32,000, has been dealt with at Stafford Crown Court

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A Burton man, who changed his name to hide his part in his family's £1 million VAT fraud, has been sentenced. Sibtain Ali, 35, of Burton, laundered £32,000 from the £1 million fraud that saw his two sisters, his brother and his brother's partner make false VAT repayment claims for several companies, including the Popadom and Shawarma Express restaurants in the Trafford Centre in Manchester.

The four fraudsters were sentenced in 2010 after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Tasejad Hussain Jeffrey and his partner Bijan Khoshabi were jailed for the VAT fraud while Ali's two sisters, Fiza and Asmat Hussain, were handed suspended jail sentences.

Investigators could not initially trace Ali until they discovered he had changed his name from Subthain Hussain Jeffrey, which was the given name on paperwork as a company officer and a director of the two restaurants.

The Jeffery family had previously tried to mislead investigators by claiming Tasejad Hussain Jeffrey was dead. Ali admitted laundering £32,000 through the Manchester restaurant's finances. He was given a one-year jail sentence, suspended for 12 months.

Ali was also ordered to repay £32,000 within seven days to HMRC under a compensation order, do 180 hours unpaid community work, and pay £2,000 court costs at Stafford Crown Court.

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His Honour Judge Michael Chambers QC said to Ali: "You were involved in a VAT fraud led by your brother in which other family members were involved using a vehicle to claim VAT for which there was no legitimate entitlement. In relation to Popadom Ltd, you laundered £32,000 of false VAT repayments, part of approximately £166,000.

"This fraud was committed when the UK was facing difficult financial times and is a serious matter for public money to be defrauded in this way. You were not arrested until February 2016, as your name change frustrated the authorities in finding you and were less than helpful in interview."

Sandra Smith, assistant director of the Fraud Investigation Service at HMRC, said: "Ali failed to hide his part in this fraud and is now paying the price. Bizarrely, the Jeffery family was prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to hide their crimes with name changes and claiming to be dead.

"If you suspect fraud contact us on 0800 788 887. We are determined to create a level playing field for local businesses by recovering stolen taxes and punishing the fraudsters."

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