Men from Great Missenden and Tring jailed for their part in theft of £17m in ‘missing trader’ fraud scheme

Men from Great Missenden and Tring – and another from Bushey in Herts – have been jailed for a combined 12 years for stealing £17 million in a ‘missing trader’ VAT fraud scheme.

By James Lowson
Tuesday, 12th April 2022, 12:22 pm

The trio stole £17 million over six years by making false VAT claims to suppliers.

HMRC reports that the mastermind behind the fraud was Anthony Bond, 65, from Great Missenden.

Along with his bookkeeper, Stephen Goble, 66, from Tring, he was given a combined jail sentence surpassing 12 years in April 2019.

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Anthony Bond, described as the ringleader, photo from Thames Valley Police

Yesterday (11 April), the final member of the gang, Taylor Sullivan, 31, from Bushey, was sentenced for cheating the public revenue by posing as a fake scrap metal dealer.

Under the company name of The Bond Group, the bookkeeper was able to steal VAT through a ‘missing trader’ fraud.

By Deliberately using missing traders, companies they knew would disappear and default on VAT payments, in a bid to benefit themselves by lowering their own tax liabilities by £17 million.

This is money they kept instead of paying to HMRC.

Taylor Sullivan, photo from Thames Valley Police

HMRC says Bond used proceeds from the fraud to fund a lavish lifestyle that included a five-bedroom house, a Spanish holiday home, a fleet of high-value cars including a Bentley, Aston Martin and Range Rover, and more than half a million pounds worth of jewellery.

Tracey Noon, assistant director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “These men stole vast amounts of money they neither earned nor deserved, taking millions of pounds away from vital public services in the UK.

"Fuelled by greed, they thought the scam was too sophisticated to be detected – but they were wrong and the ringleaders paid the price with a prison sentence.

“We will continue to pursue criminals like this who think stealing from the public purse is acceptable.”

Stephen Goble, photo from Thames Valley Police

Sullivan worked at the Bond Group and was also the company director of 3Li Ltd, which claimed to have sold £4 million in metals to the Chesham-based organisation.

The pretence of a trade between the companies enabled The Bond Group to claim input tax on the goods bought from 3Li Ltd, despite the fact the company had no history in the metal trade.

Sullivan pleaded guilty to cheating the public revenue at Southwark Crown Court on 4 March 2022. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, at the same court.

Anthony Bond, 65, of Great Missenden was jailed for seven and a half years in April 2019, alongside his bookkeeper Stephen Goble, 66, of Tring, who was jailed for five years.

You can report suspected fraud to HMRC via the online form, or by searching ‘Report Fraud HMRC’ on GOV.UK.