Four people from the West Midlands have been arrested suspected of carrying out a £5 million international tax credit and maternity allowance fraud in a joint operation by HMRC, West Midlands Police and the Department for Work and Pensions.
The three men and one woman were arrested during dawn raids. HMRC investigators and Police officers swooped on five residential and two business addresses in Tipton, Dudley, West Bromwich, Handsworth and Bewdley, seizing computers, business records, paperwork, mobile phones and cash. Four vehicles were also searched, including a Mercedes and a Rover.
Adrian Farley, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation for HMRC, said:
“We are investigating what we suspect is a major plot to rob the country of vast sums of public money by an organised crime gang operating between the UK and Europe. We are working closely with our law enforcement colleagues abroad to close what we believe is a serious criminal attack against the UK tax credits and benefits system.
“We would encourage anyone with information on tax evasion and fraud to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”
Detective Inspector Neil Postins, from West Midlands Police’s Economic Crime Unit, said:
“Around 30 of our officers have supported this morning’s operation which has seen a number of individuals arrested and a significant quantity of items seized.
“Fraud cases are notoriously complex and law enforcement agencies must work together to bring offenders to justice. This morning’s operation is a testament to those close relationships and another step-forward in the fight against fraud.”
Three men and a woman, all in their thirties, are currently being interviewed by HMRC criminal investigators.
They were arrested on suspicion of Conspiracy to Cheat the Revenue contrary to the Criminal Law Act 1977, Conspiracy to undertake fraudulent activity under the Tax Credits Act 2002, Making and Supplying articles for use in fraud contrary to the Fraud Act 2006, Money Laundering offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and Conspiracy to defraud the Department for Work and Pensions contrary to Common Law.