Convicted tax fraudsters Aquil Ahmed and Victor Shearer were ordered to pay £2.9m and £646,000 respectively in confiscation to HMRC at Maidstone Crown Court. The two defendants had been instrumental in a payroll tax fraud between 2009 and 2012 in which £6.9m was siphoned off instead of being paid to HMRC. Chambers’ Edmund Burge and John Keal prosecuted the defendants at their trial and David McNeill prosecuted the case at the confiscation stage, instructed by the CPS Proceeds of Crime Unit. 

The defendants will have to pay the confiscation orders within 3 months, with Ahmed facing a further 5 years imprisonment if he fails to comply with the order and Shearer facing a further 3 years. Even if they serve the default sentences, under confiscation rules the debts to HMRC will still not be extinguished.

Nicol Sheppard, assistant director of HMRC's Fraud Investigation Service, said the pair were "driven by greed”. She added, “We do everything we can to stop criminals profiting from their crimes and to recover the money to fund the public purse. Ahmed and Shearer stole millions of pounds from the UK economy, using numerous UK and offshore companies to hide their fraud. They were driven by greed, abusing systems that are designed to ensure workers are paid correctly and taxes paid to HMRC. They are still serving their prison sentences and if they fail to comply with these orders they will spend even more time behind bars - and still owe the money.

David McNeill is a barrister with a strong practice in fraud and serious and organised crime cases.

David has built up a wide experience prosecuting and defending difficult, complex, multi-handed cases, both alone and as junior counsel. He has particular knowledge of tax, VAT and Excise, drugs, money-laundering and organised crime cases and has been instructed on a number of cases with a significant international dimension.