In the Media

Four guilty of ?50 million drink fraud

PUBLISHED January 13, 2012

Following a report on the BBC News Website today, please see below the CPS statement in full. After?a three month trial at Canterbury Crown Court, Kevin Burrage and Gary Clarke were convicted of Conspiracy to cheat the Public Revenue. They await sentence with Michael Turner and Davinder Dhaliwal who both pleaded guilty to cheating the Public Revenue at the commencement of the trial. George Barbary, Specialist Fraud Prosecutor at the CPS said; ?The conviction of these?four men marks a significant breakthrough in the prosecution and investigation of this kind of alcohol tax fraud which is estimated to cost this country up to ?1bn a year. ?Burrage, Clarke, Turner, Dhaliwal and others conspired to pocket millions of pounds in unpaid tax and duty through this fraud. They used their positions and links in the trade to divert hundreds of lorry loads of alcohol from the attention of the authorities to evade taxes and duties rightly owed. What seemed like a bonanza for these criminals was in fact a tax fraud on such a grand scale that it probably resulted in a loss to the taxpayer of ?50 million a year ? quite possibly more. ?This is far from being a victimless crime. These fraudsters have undermined honest and hardworking retailers, as well as British taxpayers. We would all rather see the money these people stole being spent on schools and hospitals instead of being pocketed by criminals to fund luxurious lifestyles with expensive houses, jewellery, holidays, and cars; including for these defendants, highest specification Mercedes and a Sports Bentley. ?This case saw lawyers from the Crown Prosecution Service and investigators from HMRC working closely with counterparts from Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania and Turkey who assisted with the investigation and in many instances provided the vital evidence needed to secure these convictions. ?At an earlier trial, John Byrne and Terrence Ward, who were in control of a haulage company, Stag Freight, were convicted for their role in alcohol diversion fraud and were responsible for many of the fraudulent movements in this latest case.?