Two insurance fraudsters who embezzled £340,000 have been thrown in jail following an investigation by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
Elina Jaksone, 36, and Gagik Kyriacos Manucharyan, 40, failed to declare or pay tax on their £920,000 earnings as ‘ghost’ insurance brokers.
They used the criminal proceeds to buy a £365,000 property, fund private education and purchase two Mercedes vehicles, one of which cost £56,000. They enjoyed frequent holidays to exotic destinations including Jamaica, Mauritius, Mexico and Tokyo.
Jaksone and Manucharyan funded their lifestyle by supplying false and misleading information to insurance companies, when arranging policies for their clients. They would contact insurance companies posing as their clients, providing limited information.
This allowed the clients, who were mostly Eastern Europeans in the UK, to buy cheaper policies, but the lies meant policies were potentially void.
The couple pocketed about £100 a time in brokerage fees for each policy they arranged, raising £920,000 in the process. None of this income was ever declared to HMRC.
David Margree, assistant director at HMRC said Jaksone and Manucharyan cheated honest, law-abiding people, spending their ill-gotten gains on a lifestyle that many of us can only dream of. They also cheated their customers by providing them with inadequate insurance policies.
“HMRC will not tolerate fraud. We work closely with other agencies, including the Serious Organised Crime Agency, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the financial sector to tackle all forms of fiscal fraud and protect the interests of the public”.
Jaksone also fraudulently claimed £82,000 in tax credits and pension credits by pretending to be a single mother with high childcare costs. She used her mother’s details to obtain pension credits and winter fuel allowance payments. Attempts to claim pension credits in the name of her father-in-law failed.
Jaksone and Manucharyan were sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court on Tuesday 9 April. They had denied insurance fraud but were found guilty after a seven week trial in 2012. Both had admitted tax fraud, and Jaksone had also entered a guilty plea to tax credits and benefit fraud.
Manucharyan was sentenced to three years imprisonment on each of three counts of insurance fraud, and Jaksone to two years imprisonment for each of three counts of insurance fraud. These sentences will run concurrently.
Both defendants were also sentenced to two years and two months in prison for tax fraud, while Jaksone will serve a further 10 months for tax credits fraud. These sentences will run consecutively to those imposed for insurance fraud.
Sentencing the couple, His Honour Judge James O’Mahoney said that the couple were “greedy and selfish”, and “couldn’t care less” whether their customers’ insurance policies were void.
The couple’s property in Kent has been restrained and confiscation proceedings will follow.