HMRC Fraudster caught.

A tax consultant who fled the UK after masterminding a conspiracy to steal nearly £7million from construction workers has been jailed for nine years. Former Inland Revenue worker Mike Hughes, 52, used a string of UK and offshore companies and bank accounts to steal £6.9million in taxes deducted from workers’ wages, through fraudulent payroll schemes. The money, which should have been paid to HM Revenue & Customs, was split between Hughes and his three co-conspirators, who were jailed for a total of 19 years in 2016.

Hughes evaded justice by leaving the UK in September 2011, travelling to Chile and Dubai before setting up home in northern Cyprus. He was arrested by HMRC investigators at Heathrow Airport in January when he arrived on a flight from Turkey. He was yesterday jailed for nine-and-a-half years at Southwark Crown Court. Alison Chipperton, assistant director of the fraud investigation service at HMRC, said: ‘They were all professionals who broke the law, but as a tax consultant and former Inland Revenue employee, Hughes’ role as the criminal mastermind is even more deplorable.’