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Corrupt bank worker jailed over Trojan-powered tax scam

Funneled £3.2m through bogus bank accounts

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A former local business manager at a bank who participated in a £3.2m self assessment tax fraud was jailed for three years and three months on Friday.

Nikola Novakovic, 34, conspired with Oleg Rozputnii, 28, to register over 1,050 fictitious taxpayers on the Income Tax Self Assessment system. The pair claimed fraudulent tax refunds under assumed names before laundering the proceeds of the scam via 200 fraudulent bank accounts.

Personal details needed to pull off the racket were extracted from the computers of consumers using an unspecified computer virus. Rozputnii, an illegal immigrant from the Ukraine, used numerous false identities to help commit the fraud, which also involved Dmytro Shepel, 26, a Ukrainian, also from London.

Joe Rawbone, assistant director of HMRC Criminal Investigation, said: "These men ran an audacious scam stealing millions of pounds. They set up hundreds of false bank accounts using viruses to hack into personal computers to gain information. They used their illegal profits to fund lavish lifestyles, buying performance cars including Porches, Mercedes and Jaguars. HMRC takes tax fraud extremely seriously and we will recover any financial gain from this criminal activity."

The scam netted £3.2m between January 2008 and September 2010 when the racket was uncovered following a lengthy investigation by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Sentencing, Mr Recorder Singh QC said that Novakovic "had abused his position with the bank" as part of a "sophisticated and orchestrated fraud".

Novakovic and Rozputnii pleaded guilty to cheating the public revenue in March. Rozputnii, the main mover behind the scam, was jailed for three years and nine months on Friday. Shepel was sentenced to three-and-a-half years at an earlier hearing in August 2010.

Pictures of the subjects and their cars can be found in a HMRC statement on the case here. ®

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