Fraudster gets 17 years for £34m scam
A Solihull man who stole millions in PAYE employee tax has received one of the longest fraud sentences in British history.
Thomas Scragg, from Hockley Heath, was jailed for a total of 17 years following three separate fraud convictions.
The extent of his fraud racket has remained a secret until now as cases against his two henchmen - Carl and Anthony Johnson from Wolverhampton - progressed through court.
But reporting restrictions were lifted after the brothers were convicted of laundering Scragg's ill-gotten gains.
Scragg used his business "Moya Payroll" - which managed staff wages from construction industry companies - to steal more than £26m in tax between 2002 and 2007.
His co-defendant, 60-year-old Paul Phillips of Ashbourne, Derbyshire, was jailed for nine years. Another nine people were also convicted for their parts in the criminal enterprise.
A further investigation by West Midlands Police uncovered another £8m of stolen PAYE tax in a 10-month period from April 2007.
Birmingham Crown Court heard how Carl Johnson, 49, and brother Anthony, 51, lived extravagant lifestyles using money they received from Scragg in return for their "protection services".
In total he paid the brothers - who had a string of convictions for violence and witness intimidation - around £2.4m.
All three men spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on luxury hotels in London and regularly ran up massive bills in local restaurants.
The notorious Johnson brothers kitted out their homes with state-of-the art security equipment.
Carl had bulletproof glass put in his home, while Anthony rebuilt his house - installing a home cinema, a stables and a kennels.
They also drove around in expensive cars including a Lamborghini Murcielago, Bentley Continental, Porsche Cayenne and Ferrari Spider.
Both brothers claimed their wealth came from running a legitimate security business - called Unit 11 - but the company paid nothing in tax to HMRC.
Sky News' Alistair Bunkall said: "Only one person has received a longer sentence for fraud in Britain. The reason it came to light was because of the extravagant lifestyle of the brothers."
Detective Chief Inspector Shaun Edwards from West Midlands Police said: "This was fraud and money laundering on a massive scale.
"It deprived the public purse of millions of pounds and Scragg's audacity is shown by the fact he continued the fraud in various guises even after he knew he was being investigated.
"Carl and Anthony Johnson flaunted their wealth for the local Wolverhampton community to see - which is what ultimately led to their downfall.
"They were once heard to joke 'crime does pay'. They now have plenty of time behind bars to reconsider this opinion."
what do you think?
Big deal- why don't you prosecute those that have stole billions off us and still won't lend us our money back. Bankers are above the law.
Robin Van Der Spiegel
I would have thought £26m worth of fraud was a pretty big deal myself unless that amount of money is small change to you? This story has nothing to do with the banks so change the record.
Robin, jimmy was using the banks 'theme' as a valid comparison. Bankers and politicians can be worse crooks due to their abuse of trust/position and yet they can play the 'oversight' card. But when Joe Bloggs gets caught then the whole world will crash down upon him as though he was the only crook in the country!. So change your record...i-pod!
Robin Van Der Spiegel
With all due respect Roger, I'm aware of that. And to be fair, I have sympathy with that point if view. However, this does not excuse a calculating, conniving criminal with his henchmen in tow stealing £26m and in this respect it has nothing to do with the banks. I'm actually surprised that people who complain, quite rightly, about banks, politicians etc are quite happy for a criminal to merrily steal £26m to fund his lavish lifestyle?
I think a neck needs winding in there like. No1 has justified the theft, just comparing it to the billions owed to the tax payer by moguls and politicians that we wil never see and they will rarely be punished for but as they are wealthy and of status then they will go unpunished. 2 wrongs do not make a right but two wrongs are still both wrong and need treating accordingly
Robin is spot on. Again Mr Jedi goes off on a tangent. Stay on topic...
Once again lorga carries on thinking about what she is told to think about rather than looking at the bigger picture? Baaah baaah baaah baaah
jimmy, I have just given you a thumbs down for your comment on Lorgar. However, thanks for telling us that Lorgar is a SHE, I never knew that so I suppose that means I've got to behave myself?.............No damn it, if she's as intelligent as she sounds then I'm sure she won't mind me speaking my own mind, wether I'm a retarded Dinosaur or not!
TIP OF THE ICEBERG,HUNDREDS MORE DOING THIS EVERY DAY,
If you know about this, David, shop them!
You get less for murder!!!
I know this as fact, as per my comment!
Obviously they need to be punished for this but I hope these bankers get similar sentences!!!
Agreed, but don't hold your breath!
Again, what have bankers to do with this?
Some other countries look at your wealth; fast cars, nice houses and ask where it comes from. If you can explain it no problem. Seems we let it go on, never asking enough questions. Only recently have the police started to seize assets of criminals. Also seems to me like London is the money laundering capital of the world!
Why do you think Cameron walked out of the EU summit when valid and worthwhile financial controls were being put on the table? Oh no, putting sensible controls in place to help stop his City mates from exercising corrupt and greedy practises just won't do will it?
This should worry the bankers but I don't think it will. After all, they only misappropriated billions. Does'nt compare does it. Even when innocent people have had the heavies on them to cover the shortfall caused by the bankers.
He should have told them he had made a mistake and offered to pay the money back. If it works for MPs, Lords and Bankers it should have worked for him.
Shows how bad HMRC are when a villan can get away with this for a decade without getting caught. How many more are still doing this without getting noticed. Oh yes, i believe they are getting rid of more tax men so the chances of getting caught are even less now............
Unfortunately there are less and less taxmen these days. They are shutting offices and centralising. A large number of people complain about filling in their tax forms so ther is no pleasing some people.
got stumped today for £250 underpayment for last year, lol....this guy does it for years without a wonder!
Michael(9:30 pm). Bad luck on that one, but I was notified a few months ago that I had underpaid my income tax in 2007.......to the tune of 56 pence!!!!!!! I still can't believe it!!!! I have now paid it btw.....
Agreed Davefly etc., I wonder how much we are paying the people in charge of the system for what seems like gross negligence. If Michael Cook & Anthony Smith could not get away with 250 quid and 56 pence underpayments - how come this offender managed to bag so much without being sussed?! What this report does not say is if the construction workers suffered personal loss as a result.
Davefly. You should have watched Dispatches last night and you would have understood exactly how they got away with it. Those at the top of HMRC are just as crooked
surely if he said he had made an error of judgement and was sorry he would have been let off ,it works for mp`s and bankers ???
Compared to the banks these men have stolen pennies. but they have stolen money off honest hardworking men and women. I would be more than happy if crooked bankers got the same.
John. Crooked MP's walked away unscathed as well so don't hold your breath waiting
and the bankers swindle Billions and get let off ,,,,,,,,and still want a pay off !! unbelievable
Lee. It is always a question of who does the swindling I am afraid. Money & influence comes out on top every time. Makes you want to puke.
I think we are all missing something here. A man commits fraud and gets 17 years. A drunken driver kills someone (murder as far as I am concerned) and gets a driving ban and maybe a small custodial sentence or generally probation. Let's get things into perspective here.
Janet. The law in this country has always treated crime against money and property more severely than crime against the person.
Oh how I agree,Janet! My daughter was murdered, slime bag gets 16 yrs, maybe if he'd swindled money too, it would have doubled his sentence?
Yes I agree this is a crime and no worse than the Libor fraud, obviously they were not important enough for the Government to turn a blind eye to.
A bit worrying when this can go on and the HMRC have no idea, no inkling! 'Flaunted wealth' is the only clue - so much for computers, security and detection systems. The system can be quite easily exploited/milked by those who need to finance other enterprises (drugs/terrorism/tarfficking etc). There seems to have always been a reluctance, by the taxmen, to pursue such crime as it is expensive to do so, so why bother?If the police aren't told they can't do anything. Perhaps an all pervading attitude percolates down thru the whole system?
Hmmm, the slime that murdered my daughter got 16yrs, money rules every time, I don't care HOW much money was swindled, ....it sticks in your throat when it's deemed more important than a human life, this country's justice system STINKS!!!!!
17 years for £34m scam. That's still good money - £2m per year assuming he serves the full 17! If he halves his sentence through "good behaviour" it would be £4m per year.
Jan N Andy Oakley-Hills
OK 1. So who is going demand why it took so long to notice their lifestyle? 2. So have they got the stolen money back or confiscated all their possessions? 3. If not what are they doing about it? 4. What changes have been implemented to stop this fraud happening? Just a few simple points, need answering and sorting immediately, and a few heads to roll at HMRC methinks?