Jail sentences totalling more than 10 years have been imposed on a West Midlands gang who evaded more than £900,000 in duty and taxes by running a huckster site (an illegal filling station).
Frank Daly, 54, his son Jacob O’Callaghan, 26, and Danny Williams, 22, all from Wolverhampton, were arrested when investigations by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) revealed the three had purchased more than 1.2 million litres of kerosene, which they were selling to motorists as road diesel. The three men were operating from an industrial unit in Willenhall between 2009 and 2014.
The fraud came to light in February 2014 when police officers stopped O’Callaghan in a van containing 1,000 litres of kerosene, normally used as home heating oil. During the investigation, HMRC officers identified the involvement of Daly and Williams, and all three were found to be involved in running the illegal filling station.
In May 2014, HMRC officers arrested the men and seized fuel pumps, 1,500 litres of fuel and six vehicles as well as equipment and paperwork, closing the huckster site down.
All the men were sentenced at Stafford Crown Court on Wednesday February 10. Daly was found guilty of the fraudulent evasion of excise duty and evading payment of VAT after a trial at Stafford Crown Court. He was sentenced to five and a half years for the excise duty and four years for the VAT fraud, to run concurrently.
O’Callaghan pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of excise duty and evading payment of VAT at Wolverhampton Crown Court in May 2015. He was sentenced to 10 months. Williams pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of excise duty at Wolverhampton Crown Court in May 2015. He was sentenced to six months jail, suspended for one year.
Richard Wentel, assistant director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “This trio knew they were breaking the law and through this evasion, took huge amounts of money away from funding the UK’s vital public services.
“Fuel fraud lines the pockets of criminals and can have a devastating effect on legitimate fuel traders, forcing them out of business.
“Anyone with information about this type of fraud or people involved in the sale, storage or distribution of illicit fuel can contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 595000.”