Ex-South Yorks policeman jailed for attempted £330m fraud

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Courts: Reports from the law courts.
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A FORMER South Yorkshire police officer has been jailed for more than 10 years for an attempted £330 million VAT fraud - the largest of its kind in the UK.

Nigel Cranswick, aged 47, served as a police officer between 1997 and 2005 until he set up Ideas 2 Go Ltd, which he used as the front for his VAT scam by alleging the business sold more than six million mobile phones and had a turnover of more than £2.4 billion in just eight months.

The former bobby, of Danby Road, Kiveton Park, Rotherham, and five others used details from hijacked or fictitious companies to produce thousands of invoices for sales of mobile phones and computer software, producing billions of pounds in fabricated turnover, which generated around £330 million in fraudulent VAT repayments.

Cranswick was jailed for 10 years and three months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to cheat the public revenue.

Thomas John Murphy, 27, a former removal man from Sycamore Avenue, Creswell, Worksop, was jailed for four and a half years. He was a director of the company and during his time there withdrew more than £77,000 in cash from ATM machines.

Darren Smyth, 42, of Beech Road, Maltby, who is the partner of Cranswick’s sister Clare Reid, was sentenced to three years and four months behind bars.

He was Company Secretary and a director and produced falsified hand written ledgers and had substantial amounts of cash passing through his personal bank accounts.

Andrew Marsh, 29, of Church Street, Wales, Rotherham, was jailed for two years and eight months.

The former council housing officer was also Company Secretary and involved in financial transfers.

Brian Olive, 56, of Buttermere Close, Carcroft, Doncaster, was locked up for three years and four months.

The former railway trackman was a director and produced false invoices and made illegal money transfers.

Cranswick’s sister, Clare Reid, was an administrator and was sentenced to nine months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months.

She will have to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work in the community.

She pleaded guilty to two charges of false accounting.