Recycling tech biz bosses get years for VAT fraud, money laundering

Didn't realise IT was only thing were supposed to refurbish

A dastardly duo running IT recycling businesses that pilfered nearly £145,000 in VAT and laundered cash for a gang of fraudsters face years behind bars, HMRC confirmed today.

Andrew Baddeley, 45, formerly of Greengate Road, Stoke-on-Trent, and Douglas Brown, 55, of Springfield Avenue, Warrington, ran CMS Computer Monitor Services and Recycle Technology respectively.

The conviction follows a probe by the taxman which discovered the pair had moved almost £421,000 of dirty money through their books along with Baddeley's dad, Peter, 71, of Sandpiper Close, Bolton.

Brown and Baddeley junior claimed they'd spent more than £1m on monitors from two other recycling businesses before reselling the screens to firms in Africa, and falsely reclaiming VAT they supposedly paid on the goods, HMRC said.

But verifications with the recyclers of the PC monitors and the shipping agents confirmed the purchases were "fake" and the pair had "created a string of phoney paperwork".

"Investigations also revealed they used their bank accounts to launder money for criminal gangs who set up fake businesses to steal VAT," HMRC added.

Some 23 members of this wider West Midland crim network were sentenced to a total of 54 years in jail back in 2016. They used 20 fake businesses to make more than 80 fraudulent claims for VAT totalling £2.6m.

Brown claimed nearly £100,000 in false VAT repayments between April 2012 and June 2013 with HMRC coughing £94,156 and withholding the remainder. He also laundered nearly £11,000 through the business in 2010.

Andrew Baddeley claimed £94,746 in fraudulent VAT repayments between April 2011 and May 2013, with £49,403 actually paid by the taxman and the rest withheld. He was also involved in funnelling £409,819 of criminals' cash between October 2009 and August 2011. The senior Baddeley was also convicted of money laundering for the same time frame.

Things didn't end for the Baddeley crim combo: Andrew Baddeley was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in the clink and was banned from holding a directorship for six years; his father, Peter, was given 30 months in the slammer and banned from being a company director for three years.

As for Brown, he was sentenced to 49 months in the hole and banned from being a director for three years.

Efforts to recover the stolen VAT and criminal proceeds are under way, HMRC said. ®

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