Four fraudsters who stole more than £6m from the taxpayer have been ordered to pay back £976,000 or face extended jail sentences.
Youri Khomitch, Victoria Chambers, Oleksandra Hawkins and Alexander Sokolovski were jailed in 2010 after an HMRC investigation found them to have set up bogus companies offering accountancy to eastern Europeans.
They used the construction workers’ identity documents and created fictitious people to submit more than 3,000 false self-assessment returns.
Khomitch and Chambers bought a luxury £850,000 home in Kent, as well as a string of other properties.
They took expensive holidays, sent their eldest children to private school and spent thousands on gold and diamond jewellery.
HMRC assistant director David Cowie said: “This gang stole identities and vast amounts of money to live a luxury lifestyle that they neither earned nor deserved. We were determined that they did not leave jail to enjoy that lifestyle again, and had all assets held by the defendants restrained prior to confiscation proceedings.
“HMRC works tirelessly not only to identify fraud, but to actively seek the profits of fraud. If these criminals do not pay up, they will serve extra time in jail, and still owe the money when they are released.”
Croydon Crown Court yesterday ordered the following confiscation proceedings:
Ukrainian national Khomitch was ordered to pay £474,000 or face three and a half more years in jail, on top of his current seven-year sentence.
Estonian Victoria Chambers was ordered to pay £41,000 or serve three more years in addition to her current four-year imprisonment.
Sokolovski was ordered to pay £39,000 while Hawkins was told to pay £52,000.