The ringleader of a gang, who laundered more than £240,000 with his west London accomplices, has been jailed after setting up a fake catering company.
Michael Akindele, from Carshalton, Surrey, claimed a series of fraudulent VAT payments through the business before laundering the money with five other gang members.
Investigators from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) discovered the illegal claims after finding the group had hijacked an innocent person's ID to create the company.
Other businesses set up by Akindele and his accomplices, such as a newsagents, tobacconist and an IT consultants firm, were discovered by investigators from HMRC's VAT repayment taskforce.
Brett Wilkinson, assistant director of HMRC's Fraud Investigation Service, said the gang are now “paying the price” for their crimes.
“This gang thought they were above the law and that they could get away with cheating the system,” Ms Wilkinson said.
“They were wrong and they are paying the price for their greed.
"Tax cheats make money from public services we all rely on.”
Akindele, a director of TGL Logistics, based in Mitcham, which mainly handles exports to Nigeria, admitted money laundering at Kingston Crown Court on March 31.
The mastermind behind the gang, of Newent Close, also pleaded guilty to cheating the public revenue.
Akindele was jailed for three and a half years.
His accomplice Mohamed, of Ellesmere Court, Chiswick, admitted to money laundering and was sentenced to six months in jail, suspended for 15 months.
He was ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid work when the gang was sentenced at Kingston Crown Court on Tuesday (October 3).
Four others, who pleaded guilty, were alongside them in the dock, included Akindele’s wife Abimbola, 44, of Finsbury Park, Abiodun Gbadamosi, 44, of South Ockenden, and Sangosanya.
They admitted money laundering and were each sentenced to three months in jail, suspended for 12 months, and 100 hours of unpaid work.
Anyone with information about tax fraud can contact HMRC's hotline on 0800 788 887.
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