An IFA has been jailed for five years after he assisted a client in fraudulently reclaiming nearly £900,000 and then gambled some of the proceeds away in casinos.
HM Revenue & Customs says Mohammad Izhar Ul Haq committed the fraud by forging a bank guarantee from the Bank of America, meaning his client could claim a VAT repayment from the Revenue.
Haq later lied to his solicitors about his whereabouts to avoid being jailed, claiming he was in Pakistan. The adviser was actually gambling in London casinos.
HMRC says in an attempt to mitigate his involvement in the fraud, Haq (pictured) lied to investigators, claiming that his fee for the service was £20,000. In fact he received over £200,000, of which £130,000 was paid into gambling accounts he held at London casinos.
HMRC assistant director of criminal investigation Martin Brown says: “Haq presented himself as a trustworthy financial adviser, but instead he showed that he was an ingenious document forger.
“HMRC will not tolerate attacks on public funds. We will investigate anyone found attempting tax fraud and protect taxpayers’ money from criminals like Haq.”
Haq has also been banned from going into casinos and gambling online for three years after he is released.
Radcliffe & Newlands chartered financial planner Mel Kenny says: “Stories like this do a lot of damage to the reputation of financial services but, no matter how tough regulation is, you will inevitably get some people who are intent on breaking the rules.”