Page last updated at 14:53 GMT, Friday, 16 April 2010 15:53 UK

Two men jailed for 'sophisticated' property fraud

Scales of Justice statue on top of the Central Criminal Court in the City of London
The court heard the fraud was built on a property deal that was "all a lie"

A company director and a Glaswegian waiter have both been sentenced to 22 months in jail for stealing just under £100,000 in a fake property deal.

At the Old Bailey, James Biniaz, 30, and Mohammad Akhtar, 41, both admitted conspiracy to cheat the revenue.

Married father of two Akhtar further admitted laundering the proceeds.

Judge Daniel Worsley told them: "This was a very sophisticated and planned VAT fraud and you succeeded in defrauding just short of £100,000."

Turning to father-of-one Biniaz, he said: "You were at the heart of the conspiracy.

"It is impossible for me to do anything other than send you to prison."

Biniez was jailed in 2003 for robbery and assault and set up Coten Recruitment Solutions Ltd in 2005, although the firm lay largely dormant until 2008.

Then in June of that year Biniaz submitted a VAT claim, requesting a rebate for the 17.5% tax paid on the supposed £600,000 freehold for the company headquarters.

In the end HMRC sent a cheque for £98,560 to Coten Ltd which was then banked.

The property was purported to be in The Headlands, Kettering, Northants, but the sale was "all a lie".

Two other men were cleared of any wrongdoing in the fraud after a trial in London Blackfriars Crown Court last week.

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