Sharjeel Iqbal, 29, of Lakelands Drive, Bolton, used his position as an NHS finance worker to hijack the identities of 59 carefully selected midwives, nurses, cardiologists and other NHS staff who were genuinely due tax refunds. He submitted claims without their knowledge and diverted the money to his own bank accounts.
Sandra Smith, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), said:
“This was a well-organised, professional attempt to manipulate the UK tax system for personal gain. As an accountant, Iqbal was in a position of trust and well aware that he was breaking the law.
“He stole personal data, forged signatures on tax repayment documents, submitted false claims and paid the refunds into his own bank accounts. It was an appalling plan to steal from doctors, nurses and UK taxpayers that HMRC intercepted. He now has a criminal record and his professional reputation is ruined.
“If you know of anyone who is committing tax fraud you can report them by calling our 24-hour Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”
Iqbal attempted to claim £40,277 in faked Self Assessment repayments on behalf of non-existent clients between 2012 and 2013. However, HMRC withheld £14,308 when they detected suspicious activity linked to his accountancy business and some of the hijacked identities.
Iqbal was arrested in early morning raids by HMRC on 12 November 2014. HMRC searched his home and business premises and seized laptops, business records and mobile phones for forensic examination as part of the investigation. Officers also discovered a significant amount of cash, which has been detained, and will now form part of proceedings to confiscate his criminal profits.
On 4 November 2016, Iqbal was jailed for 21 months after pleading guilty at a previous court hearing.