A director of an Oxford wholesale mobile phone company has been banned from running a business for his part in a VAT fraud*scheme.

William Robert Howard (45) director of the now liquidated Expeditors Limited has entered into an undertaking that prevents him from acting as a director for 12 years.

The mobile phone business was incorporated in 2004 and a petition was made to wind up Expeditors Limited in June 2017 by HM Revenue & Customs regarding an unpaid VAT bill of ?22,545.40.

The Insolvency Service then conducted an investigation, which focused on the mobile phone company?s participation in a form of VAT fraud known as Missing Trader Intra Community fraud (MTIC).

Commonly known as ?carousel? fraud, MITC fraud sees large consignments of high-value electrical or small items invoiced rapidly and repeatedly around trading chains. On paper the goods look like they are being moved repeatedly from customer to customer but the goods are only moved as they enter or exit the UK.

In the case of Expeditors Limited, William Howard used the scheme to offset VAT and reclaim close to ?350,000 in its 2005 to 2006 VAT return.

Examples of MITC conducted by William Howard were indicated by the rapid succession of same-day trades within the UK but goods weren?t delivered and remained on a shared freight forwarder, there were common uses of the same offshore bank, as well as payments being arranged with third parties who were neither suppliers nor customers.

Additionally, all the traders banked with the First Curacao International Bank which was shut down by the Netherlands Antilles authorities in September 2006 in order to prevent money laundering.

William Howard?s disqualification started on 5 February 2018 and means that he cannot promote, manage, or be a director of a limited company until 2030.

Anthony Hannon, Official Receiver in the Public Interest Unit of the Insolvency Service, said:

This type of VAT fraud is very serious and a high priority for HMRC and the Insolvency Service.

MTIC fraud has caused loss to the public purse and has cost the tax payer substantial sums in fraudulent VAT claims. The Insolvency Service is committed to making directors accountable for their actions.