Jail term for London grocer’s £120k VAT fraud

A London man who set up fake companies, including a jewellery shop and a holiday villas firm, as part of a £120,000 VAT fraud has been jailed for three years, following an HMRC investigation

Alaina Imponge registered seven companies for VAT. Between 30 March 2011 and 28 April 2014 he made 85 claims, largely for repayments.

HMRC investigators found two of his companies never traded and the others did very little business, except for A & B Grocery Ltd in Holloway Road, north London, which was a legitimate concern. The companies included a used car business, jewellery shop and a holiday villas firm.

Imponge used fake invoices to hugely inflate the companies’ expenses and claim VAT repayments. Some £125,742.98 was repaid to the seven companies, of which £118,217.98 was fraudulent.

Daren Cooley, assistant director, fraud investigation service, HMRC, said: ‘Imponge deliberately stole money which should be used to fund our public services, to prop up his grocery business and his personal lifestyle.’

At Southwark Crown Court Imponge pleaded guilty to being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of VAT during the period 30 March 2011 to 28 April 2014 in order to make a monetary gain and was jailed for three years.

Report by Pat Sweet

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