A RUSSIAN fraudster known as the 'bank man' for his part in a £6 million international scam has been jailed for five years.
Alexander Sokolovski (pictured), 50, of Boxwood Close, West Drayton, was sentenced at Croydon Crown Court last Monday (December 20).
The court heard that Sokolovski specialised in setting up false identities, and was the facilitator the five other members of the gang to commit fraud.
He set up fraudulent companies which were used as a cover, and used fake identities to create bank accounts used to receive illegal tax rebates.
The gang spent £6 million of their haul on exotic holidays, luxury houses, and cosmetic surgery.
The ringleaders of the gang, married couple Youri Khomitch and Victoria Chambers, ran a string of companies offering accountancy services for Eastern European workers.
They submitted over 3000 fraudulent self assessment tax returns over a four year period, for both fictitious people and individuals whose identities had been hijacked.
Khomitch, 36, and Chambers, 37, used the cash to buy a luxury home in a gated community in Kent where they fitted flat-screen TVs in every room and installed an en-suite sauna and outdoor hot tub.
They also bought a string of properties worth almost £2m across London and Kent. They enjoyed expensive holidays to Japan, Dubai, New York and Thailand.
Chambers spent thousands of pounds on expensive gold and diamond jewellery and a breast enlargement operation. The fraudster couple also sent their eldest children to a private school.
The scam began in 2004 and was busted by investigators from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in what they described as a 'complex operation'.
Peter Hollier, assistant director, criminal investigation for HMRC said: "This was an organised criminal attack on the public purse. This gang stole identities and exploited innocent citizens with no regard for the consequences – they were solely motivated by greed.
"Tax fraud is not a victimless crime – it takes money away from vital public services, and HMRC is determined to make the perpetrators of these crimes face the full force of the law."
The gang members are currently subject of a restraint order, freezing assets of over £2 million. Confiscation proceedings are underway.
Six members of the gang received a total jail sentence of 33 years.