A fraudster who swindled almost £6m of public money has been stripped of his assets and ordered to pay back his ill-gotten gains.

Stanley Miller, of Gateshead, was jailed for eight years and three months after he was caught out in a complex series of frauds which saw him pocket £5,952,339 of taxpayers’ money.

An investigation by HMRC found the 60-year-old, of Lane Head, Ryton, had been deliberately evading paying VAT, Income Tax and National Insurance between May 2008 and February 2016, as well as laundering money and benefitting from criminal cash.

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In October 2018, Miller went to trial at Newcastle Crown Court and he was found guilty of four counts of being concerned in fraudulent evasion to the tune of £1,055,294 and one count of cheating the public revenue to the value of £4,897,045.

After he was put behind bars, a financial investigation was launched with detectives from the North East Regional Economic Crime Unit (NE RECU) tasked with uncovering just how much Miller had pocketed.

The team identified numerous bank accounts which Miller had opened, almost half a dozen of these were based overseas in the UAE, an impressive property portfolio in Gateshead and Newcastle, as well as £35,000 in cash and other luxury items seized from his home.

Detectives put an application before the courts to recoup the money under the Proceeds of Crime Act and on Friday a judge at Newcastle Crown Court ordered Miller to pay back £5,470,258.

After the hearing, Det Sgt Thomas Maughan, from the NE RECU, said: "Time and time again we see criminals jailed who believe they can conceal accounts, finances and luxury items from us, so when they are released they can return to the lifestyle their illegal activity afforded them.

Newcastle Crown Court

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"But, thanks to the Proceeds of Crime Act, we are able to continue investigating people like Stanley Miller to see what assets they have, what they may have tried to conceal and where these assets are.

"And, if we find anything which we suspect has links to crime, we can seize it and impose financial orders on that person and ensure they face the courts again.

"For some offenders prison might not seem like much of a deterrent if they have a nice home and a healthy bank balance to return to, which is why we carry out comprehensive investigations to ensure these people are stripped of criminal assets and shown in no uncertain terms that crime doesn’t pay.

"I’d like to thank the HMRC criminal investigation team who did a superb job, firstly detecting Miller’s crimes and then having him convicted. Without them we’d not have got such a good Proceeds of Crime result.

"I’d also like to thank our financial investigator Barry Dixon for an exceptional job on what has been an extremely complex and time-consuming case. Without his meticulous work Miller may be facing a very different outcome."

First established in 2004, the team is made up of officers from Durham, Northumbria and Cleveland Police who work alongside the local police forces and other law enforcement agencies, such as HMRC which is who referred this case into the NE RECU.

Cheryl Burr, operational lead fraud investigation service at HMRC, said: "Miller stole millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money which should’ve be used to fund our vital public services – and now he has to pay back the money he pocketed.

"We will continue to work with our partners to recover the proceeds of crime from criminals who try to cheat the system. I encourage anyone with information on this type of fraud to contact HMRC online or our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887."

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