Two businessmen have been jailed for running a bogus IT recycling operation for a gang which was convicted of a £2.6m tax fraud.
Andrew Baddeley, 45, formerly of Greengate Road, Stoke-on-Trent, and Douglas Brown, 55, of Springfield Avenue, Warrington, between them stole almost £145,000 in VAT and laundered money through their IT recycling businesses.
The businesses, Recycle Technology and CMS Computer Monitor Services, were run for a 23-strong gang, whose members were jailed in 2016 for a total of 54 years.
An investigation by HMRC found that the pair – along with Baddeley’s father Peter, 71, of Sandpiper Close, Bolton – moved £420,774 of criminal cash through their accounts.
They claimed to repair computer monitors before selling them to customers in Africa. But HMRC investigators found this was a scam to steal VAT repayments.
The two men purported to have spent more than £1m on computer monitors from two IT recycling companies before reselling the goods to companies in Africa, and then reclaimed the VAT they supposedly paid on the recycled goods. But checks revealed the purchases and paperwork involved were fake and the men had used their bank accounts to launder money for the gang, which had set up 20 fake businesses to steal VAT by making 80 fraudulent repayment claims.
At Leeds Crown Court, Andrew Baddeley admitted VAT fraud and money laundering. He was jailed for four-and-a-half years and banned from being a company director for six years.
Brown was convicted of VAT fraud and money laundering, and jailed for four years and one month along with a six-year company director ban.
Peter Baddeley was convicted of money laundering, and sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison as well as being banned from being a company director for three years.
Brown ran Recycle Technology at Hoyle Street, Warrington, and claimed £99,787 in fraudulent VAT repayments, with £94,156 being paid while the rest was withheld by HMRC. He also laundered £10,955 of criminal money through his business.
Andrew Baddeley ran CMS Computer Monitor Services at Ashtenne Business Park, Crewe, and claimed £94,746 in fraudulent VAT repayments, with £49,403 being paid while the rest was withheld by HMRC. He was also involved in laundering £409,819 of criminal money through the company.
Peter Baddeley had run the business until December 2010 and was convicted of money laundering.
HMRC said proceedings to recover the stolen VAT and criminal proceeds were underway.