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HMRC flushes out poker playing fraudster's winnings

16/08/2018 News Team

An international crime gang member must repay £70,000 years after his crime, after winning a poker tournament.

Adam Lulat Preston, Lancashire, was jailed for 28 months in 2015 for his involvement in a £40 million money laundering scam and a major pan-European VAT fraud, after an HMRC investigation.

The six man crime gang were jailed for a total of 25 years and 10 months, and ordered to repay £590,000. Mr Lulat was ordered to repay a nominal £1 due to a lack of assets.

But On 6 August 2018 the original £1 confiscation order was increased at Manchester crown court to the sum of £71,770 after HMRC brought Mr Lulat back to court after he won £68,930 at a poker tournament held in Manchester in March this year.

He was ordered to handover all his winnings, as well as £2,840 held in a personal bank account, within three months or face another 15-months in jail.

Debbie Porter, assistant director, fraud investigation service, HMRC, said: “Lulat thought he’d aced the tournament but we had the better hand in the end. We will not allow tax fraudsters like Lulat to enjoy their winnings until they’ve repaid what they’ve stolen from the taxpayer.

HMRC discovered Mr Lulat was a part of a gang that worked for other crime groups moving approximately £40million of criminal cash through multiple bank accounts in the UK and other countries between 1 September 2010 and 30 November 2011.

They were also behind a separate VAT fraud and HMRC investigators tracked their activities across Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. They fabricated businesses to make fraudulent VAT repayment claims against multiple EU member states using a complex web of transactions.

Co-ordinated action with European enforcement agencies exposed the gang’s use of bank accounts and money service bureaux to launder the money across borders before the cash was withdrawn for the gang to pocket.

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