‘Operation Humidity’ was a “quite breathtaking fraud on the public purse” carried out in “a determined, efficient and ruthless manner”.
In total 14 individuals were prosecuted by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, one of whom was represented by Farleys fraud and business crime team.
Described by the prosecution as “a simple and yet highly effective scheme to claim and obtain vast sums of money from the Revenue?, the gang of fraudsters behind ‘Operation Humidity’ were able to illegally obtain more than £1,700,000 from Her Majesty’s Customs & Excise before being discovered.
‘Operation Humidity’ first required the fraudsters to set up bogus businesses and limited companies using false names, misleading addresses and sometimes entirely stolen identities. They then began to repeatedly request monthly, rather than quarterly VAT returns.
Repayments would be paid into bank accounts which had been specifically set up to receive the fraudulently claimed funds. The money would then be swiftly emptied into other accounts hiding behind these first tier and apparently legitimate accounts, making the money very hard to track.
Of the 14 individuals alleged to have taken part in ‘Operation Humidity’, 7 pleaded guilty. Of the remaining 7 who went to trial, 2 were convicted unanimously, 2 by a majority (11-1) and 3 were acquitted.
Initially, HMRC alleged that all of the defendants were willing participants in the fraud. However, after all the evidence had been presented the jury returned with a ‘not guilty’ verdict for Farleys’ client.
The client’s comments were understandably ebullient, “Absolutely excellent! I could not have got a better senior Solicitor, a better junior Solicitor or a better Barrister. More than happy with all of you.” He also went on to thank Andy K Pearson for his hard work and effort in preparing the defence case.
Farleys’ fraud and business crime team have now won four cases in a row.
If you have been accused of serious fraud or business crime, and are looking for an experienced solicitor capable of preparing a strong case for your defence, contact Farleys’ Special Casework Unit (SCU) on 0845 287 0939 or e-mail us.
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