Midlands car finance fraudsters get jail time

Birmingham Crown Court

A group that established 90 fraudulent companies has received sentences totalling more than 10 years.

Derby resident Shahid Mohammad led the group, creating front companies including a fake recruitment firm, in an attempt to steal over £800k through VAT and car finance scams.

Mohammad received a six-year prison sentence, while his accomplices were given suspended jail terms.

The fraudsters created a fake recruitment agency to steal identities and used them to set up fake car dealerships across the Midlands, using vacant addresses for these fake businesses.

They used stolen personal information to fabricate vehicle sales and secure fraudulent car finance deals.

Once they received money from lenders, they transferred it through various bank accounts and withdrew it as cash and also made false VAT repayment claims through these fake companies.

Mark Robinson, operational lead of the fraud investigation service at HMRC, said: “Shahid Mohammad and his criminal gang caused utter misery for dozens of innocent people whose stolen details were used in this fraud. A huge amount of effort and planning went into committing these offences, which stole much needed money from our public services.

“We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to pursue the small minority who commit these types of crimes and we urge anyone with information about tax evasion to report it to HMRC online.”

The trial concluded without a jury due to interference allegations. The judge decided to continue the trial without a jury for the sake of justice.

An investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Derbyshire Police, and West Midlands Police uncovered the gang’s use of 91 stolen identities to make claims from January 2015 to November 2016, netting £390,980.

Additionally, they fraudulently claimed £80,716 in VAT repayments through these various companies.

Mohammad and five others were convicted after a trial at Birmingham Crown Court in March 2024.

Efforts are underway to recover the stolen money.

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