Construction tax scam busted by customs and police

A multi-million pound fraud ring based around Northern Ireland’s construction industry has been smashed following a major joint customs and police security operation.

It is believed that officers from the Organised Crime Task Force have arrested four people after searching 12 commercial and residential properties in Belfast, Dungiven, Rostrevor and Downpatrick early on Tuesday May 21.

With parallel searches taking place in Scotland and Wales, all three operations saw substantial documentation and computer records removed for analysis.

Northern Ireland Security Minister and Chair of the Organised Crime Task Force, Jane Kennedy has praised the operation.

“Today’s operation successfully targeted construction industry–based fraud, which is estimated to cost the Northern Ireland economy alone £10 million, involving the criminal misuse of industry tax certificates,” she said.

“This should serve as a strong deterrent to those contemplating this type of criminality.

“I am delighted to see the Police Service of Northern Ireland working together so effectively with their counterparts in Scotland and Wales to tackle construction industry-based fraud.

“As Chair of the Organised Crime Task Force, I welcome all joint working which has impact on serious fraud and organised crime in Northern Ireland.”

The police operation got under way as a report claimed today that fraud in the workplace was costing Northern Ireland businesses millions of pounds.

The study by accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed almost 40 per cent of major firms fell victim to economic crime over the past two years, with the majority of incidents attributed to “inside jobs.”


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