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THE VAT RATS; Payroll scam family pocketed PS45million due to the taxpayer.

Byline: LOUIE SMITH

A FAMILY who defrauded taxpayers of almost PS45million were yesterday jailed for more than 27 years.

Geoffrey Copp, 56, his brother Andrew, 51, and son Joshua, 24, splurged millions living the high life with cash they illegally kept from a vast VAT fraud.

Their firm provided payroll services and they charged customers 20% VAT on PS250million - but declared sales of less than PS20million, Wood Green crown court heard.

Judge Noel Lucas QC said: "At a time when Britain was made to tighten its belt, the Copps frittered away the better part of PS44million."

Det Chief Insp Josie Hayes later called it "a payroll fraud on a scale never seen in the UK".

Joshua gambled more than PS1million in one session in Las Vegas.

His PS4million home was referred to as an "Aladdin's cave" of luxury goods including PS300,000 Bentleys, a Ferrari, a Lamborghini and a Rolls Royce Ghost.

His dad Geoffrey, who owned four mansions in the UK and one in Spain, bought race horses and spent nearly PS300,000 on private jets in six months.

Andrew owned eight homes and splashed out more than PS362,000 for a Range Rover Vogue, Lamborghini Gallardo and Bentley Continental.

Records showed Geoffrey and Joshua paid no income tax between 2009 and 2015 and Andrew paid just PS15,930.

They employed foreign manual workers on the minimum wage.

Despite claiming they knew nothing of the VAT owed, they were convicted of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue and money laundering.

Accountant Simon Hathaway, 51, was cleared of false accounting and conspiracy to cheat the public revenue.

Geoffrey Copp, of Stanmore, London, got 10 and a-half years, Andrew, of, Hemel Hempstead, Herts, nine years and Joshua of Stotfold, Beds, eight years. Police hope to recover almost PS22million of assets.

England footballer Jake Livermore, who was close friends with Joshua, wrote to the court revealing how the fraudster helped him cope with the death of his son in 2014.

louie.smith@mirror.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

JAILED Geoffrey Copp

ILL GOTTEN GAIN Andrew Copp's Lamborghini

LUXURY Geoffrey Copp's Bentley

CASH CRAZY Joshua's wads of notes & high end car keys

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 10, 2017
Words:358
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