October 09, 2015

Operation Janitor

Operation Janitor was a large-scale VAT fraud investigated and prosecuted by SOCA.  The fraud involved nearly 20 companies and abuse of the zero-rated vat reclaims system for new build properties. The companies were based in a number of cities from Birmingham to Manchester. Nearly 30 people were prosecuted in 4 trials for Conspiracy to Cheat the HMRC. The value of the fraud was put at over £2.6m.

Ashmans Solicitors represented MS who was one of the director of one of the companies at the heart of the conspiracy set up to defraud the Revenue. MS’s company was one of the first to be set up and was amongst highest in terms of fraudulent activity in the conspiracy. MS’s company submitted one of the largest numbers of VAT reclaims. The reclaims were supported with fraudulent invoices and followed up with regular calls to hmrc.

 

During the 10 week trial at Birmingham Crown Court in which the Crown relied upon over 23,000 pages of evidence, Ashmans’s through our diligent and thorough consideration of the evidence successfully defended MS by establishing that he had been nothing to do with the conspiracy. After nearly 5 days of deliberating, the jury acquitted MS of the charge of Conspiracy to Cheat HMRC.

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October 08, 2015

R -v- AN Bradford Crown Court

Ashmans Solicitors successfully applied for the proceedings to be stayed in this high profile case

The Defendant, a Company Director, was charged with fraud by false representation amounting to over £660,000.

The Prosecution brought by Royal Mail alleged that the Defendant defrauded them of the above amount by falsely representing that weight and size of packages distributed were accurately recorded when they were not thereby exposing the Royal Mail Group Limited to a risk of loss.

Whilst it was evident from the papers that the amount was as suggested, it was based on presumptions made by the Prosecution. We were able to demonstrate through our proactive approach that Royal Mail Group was not the only medium that was used to make good the orders received by our client’s company. He had utilised a number of other courier services to have his goods delivered. The case was also out of the ordinary in that there were production orders served on both Amazon and Paypal to obtain data from them. Without this information the Prosecution case would not have been successful.

Furthermore the case was particularly unique in that the Defendant had left the jurisdiction of the UK and issues of whether the client was a voluntary absconder were raised by the Prosecution. We were able to successfully apply for the proceedings to be stayed due to the Defendant being classified as a voluntary absconder. Furthermore monies which had been restrained by virtue of a Court Order could also not be “got at” by the Prosecution due to the issue of the Defendant being an involuntary absconder.

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January 26, 2015

R V PN and other leeds Crown court Dec 2014

We represented the defendant, a lady of previous good character, when she was  found not guilty after a trial lasting six weeks before the Crown Court sitting in Leeds. She, together with 6 others, was accused of a CONSPIRACY TO DEFRAUD IN EXCESS OF A MILLION POUNDS AND MONEY LAUNDERING OFFENCES.

The Conspiracy alleged was very sophisticated and complex.

It involved identity thefts, forging of bank documents and fraudulent obtaining of monies from financial institutions. Thereafter, these monies were laundered through complex transactions and property investments.

In order to prepare an effective and proper defence   we had to consider and analyse in detail in excess of 10,000 pages of Prosecution evidence and research a substantial body of unused material.

By virtue of the competing interest of the Defendants involved, the case gave rise to interesting legal arguments that are not often argued in these types of cases.

We helped defence Counsel to shape these legal arguments before the Court that helped in the formulation of the legal directions given to the jury and facilitated the not guilty verdicts delivered by them.

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January 06, 2015

Regina V KT and others Wood Green Crown Court May 2014

defendant in this case was alleged to be involved with others in a so called “Cash for Crash” Fraud. In particular, it was alleged that he and others had conspired to deliberately crash their vehicle in order to make false insurance injury claims.

Repeated requests for disclosure resulted in the Crown serving a large quanitity of material on the morning of the trial. In an extraordinary turnaround that material demonstrated that it was in fact the Complainants who had been involved in no less than 5 road traffic accidents between June 2011 and October 2012 and had made a series of dubious personal injury claims.

The Crown immediately offered no evidence and Mr T was acquitted of all charges. The discovery, which only arose as a result of a pro-active and focused approach being taken in respect to disclosure, resulted in the Judge ordering that the complainant’s conduct be referred to the DPP for consideration as to whether they ought to be charged with perverting the course of justice.

We strongly believe that had it not been for our diligent approach the outcome may have been different.

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December 16, 2013

R v S A and Others Peterborough Crown Court

I was Instructed by Ashmans Solicitors to represent the defendant who, together with others was accused of a large scale fraud, money laundering and associated offences. The Prosecution allegation being that the defendant and another using the umbrella of a company borrowed from a bank 2.4 million pounds after having transferred titles of residential properties to the company without the knowledge of the title holders.  As a result of painstaking and voluminous research carried out by Ashmans Solicitors I was armed with information that gave me negotiating advantage that the Prosecution were unable to resist. They were forced to capitulate on all the core allegations and had to settle for an admission by the defendant and his co-Accused, that they had each forged the title to one property having misled the solicitors to execute the transfer of title to the company. The Prosecution were left unable to argue that defendant and his co-Accused had an intention to ‘steal’ the property to which the title related.  The contribution made by Ashmans was instrumental to the outcome of the negotiations.

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December 16, 2013

R v N.A Peterborough Crown Court.

The defendant along with many others was charged with  conspiracy to defraud insurance companies. This is a fraud often termed as “Cash for Crash”.

The defendant that was represented by Ashmans Solicitors was alleged to be involved with others including two accident management companies in defrauding insurance companies totalling a value of hundred’s of thousands of pounds.

Police launched a huge investigation into fraudulent insurance claims in 2008 dating back many years, many incidents were investigated and claims were found to be fraudulent.

The claims included accidents that had never happened, exaggerated injury claims and incidents where vehicles were taken to remote locations and crashed. The claims management companies then farmed these cases to” No win No fee solicitors”, obtaining substantial referral fees and substantial sums of money for fictitious hire claims.

Ashmans Solicitors by adopting our Pro-active defence approach were able to get the charge reduced from a conspiracy to defraud to a simple fraud.  As a result the defendant avoided a period of immediate imprisonment.

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December 16, 2013

R v S G Leeds Crown Court

This case involved middle aged lady of previous good character and a professional background was accused of the attempted murder of her partner.  She had admittedly stabbed him causing him near fatal injuries.

Ashmans Solicitors were instructed after she expressed unhappiness with the firm of Solicitors who represented her until then. She presented with a constellation of medical issues that, to a large degree, appeared to have been causative of her actions.  Ashmans Solicitors were able to commission and obtain cutting edge medical opinions from leading experts in the field of Urology, Psychiatry and Psychology that I was able to effectively use to negotiate with the Prosecution. We were able to persuade the Prosecution to accept a plea to Section 20 offence, an outcome that would have appeared fanciful prior to Ashmans being engaged.

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December 16, 2013

R v A. S. Y. Leeds Crown Court.

The defendant was charged with a conspiracy to commit fraud. This was a classic long firm fraud.

The defendant and others were involved in obtaining high value goods (total £300,000) from companies by furnishing forged cheques. About 15 companies were defrauded in this way. The conspiracy occurred over many months.

Ashmans Solicitors and the instructed Barrister had a number of consultations with the defendant. It was decided in those meetings that the best way forward was for the defendant to plead guilty on a basis of plea which limited his involvement.

This proved to be the best advice and strategy because the defendant was not sent to prison. Both of the other defendants received prison sentences. Furthermore the defendant will not have to pay any compensation and no confiscation order was made.

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January 30, 2013

R-v-DJ and others Leeds Crown Court

The defendant in this case along with one other was charged with a number of counts of converting set top boxes and using them as articles in the use for fraud. The prosecution alleged  that as a direct result of this criminal activity the defendant had benefited by converting these amounts resulting in the serious charge of converting, transfer of criminal property in contribution of section 327 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to the value of over £250,000. If convicted the defendant was looking at a lengthy custodial sentence.

As a result of Ashmans attention to detail in this complex case which involved substantial computer evidence,we along with the expert barrister instructed managed to get the more substantial charge dropped. This therefore resulted in receiving a custodial sentence being mitigated even further. Prior to the sentence hearing we prepared a lengthy mitigation statement to be used by the instructed barrister which further identified flaws in the prosecutions opening.By utilising the lengthy mitigation statement, the instructed barrister brought all these matters to the attention of the sentencing Judge. After the lengthy mitigation the defendant received a suspended sentence.

We are whole heartedly sure that had such attention not been given to this complex case the difference in sentencing may well have been vast.

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