Twins stole PS450,000 in huge bogus charity con; Brothers jailed for 10 years after fraudulent Gift Aid racket.
Byline: Court Reporter
APAIR of identical twins have been jailed for a cynical PS450,000 charity con in which they set up bogus charities to steal hundreds of thousands of pounds in Gift Aid repayments.
Arfan and Imran Ali, both 30, and of Inverclyde Road, Handsworth Wood, have been jailed for nearly ten years in total.
They claimed they were trustees of charities providing clean water to Third World countries.
But an HM Revenue and Customs investigation found they used aliases to set up the charities with the sole aim of committing fraud.
In fact, the pair failed to provide any services or raise any money for the good causes they claimed to be supporting.
They submitted claims for Gift Aid repayments based on bogus donations between May 2009 and August 2012.
And they also hijacked the details of a legitimate charity in order to submit even more fraudulent Gift Aid claims.
Investigators discovered the amount falsely claimed would have required PS1.2 million in legitimate donations.
But the charities' bank accounts showed that nowhere near those amounts had been deposited.
The brothers withdrew cash for themselves, or transferred it to the bank accounts of their businesses, which included catering companies and a convenience store.
When they came to court, they cashed in on their similarity, each blaming the other.
Imran Ali was convicted of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue after trial in July last year, and sentenced to five years.
Twin brother Arfan failed to turn up to court but was arrested by HMRC officers in October.
Both brothers are now behind bars after Arfan was convicted of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue following a trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
On Monday, he was sentenced to four years and eight months imprisonment.
Confiscation proceedings to recover the proceeds of their crime will follow.
Fraud investigators said they had been shocked by the cynical charity scam.
"It's shocking to see the depth of cynicism to which these two sank to steal money," said Paul Fisher, assistant director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC.
"They twisted and abused a way of helping good causes. They set up bogus charities as a front to commit fraud.
"The brothers knew what they were doing was utterly wrong but didn't care. Tax fraud takes funding from the public services we all rely on. It affects us all.
"I would ask anyone with information about people who may be involved to contact our fraud hotline on 0800 788 887."
Imran and Arfan Ali claimed they were trustees of charities providing clean water to Third World countries