A tax fraud, involving an HMRC insider, has been closed with those participating in the scam ordered to pay back their illicit gains or face longer jail terms.
Michael Kitchen, 47, a former HMRC administrative officer, diverted £1.2m worth of tax payments to his 13 co-defendant friends through 158 separate payments.
Kitchen and seven others were jailed for a total of 18.5 years, with the former taxman employee ordered to pay back the most (£175,000) or face a further two years behind bars.
Ian Horridge, Internal Governance, HMRC, said: 'Kitchen abused his position of trust in a sophisticated and sustained fraud aimed at paying the tax liabilities of his friends and associates. HMRC is committed to the highest level of integrity and we take the strongest possible action against the tiny minority who let us all down by falling short of those standards.
'We also use confiscations to ensure that people don't benefit financially from their criminal activity. The confiscation orders required all the defendants to pay back their ill-gotten gains, or face jail and still owe the money.'
Kitchen, who was employed to allocate payments to the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) accounts of businesses, was dismissed in 2009, following an internal investigation.
All 14 of the defendants were convicted and sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court.