A Rochdale businessman, who pocketed nearly £1.25 million from two VAT frauds, has been ordered to repay almost £400,000 or face another four years in jail after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Mubbashir Alam, 42, of Maldon Street, set up eight fake clothing companies in a deliberate attempt to claim false VAT repayments. He was originally jailed for the fraud in November 2014, he now has to repay the stolen tax within three months or he goes back to jail for four years and still has to pay.

Debbie Porter, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:

“Alam went to great lengths to distance himself from the fake companies he set up to commit his frauds and stole a substantial sum of public money to line his own pockets. HMRC will pursue every avenue to ensure that the UK VAT system is not abused in this way and that we recover all the stolen money to restore it to taxpayers’ funds.”

The court decided that Alam had benefited from his crimes by £1,053,586.57 and ordered him to repay £397,235.94 based on evidence of his assets provided by HMRC investigators including: more than £328,840.12 in investments and known bank accounts and tainted gifts of almost £70,000 to other family members.