back to article Mobile phone dealer boss faces 12 years in director limbo

The boss of an Oxford-based mobile phone dealer who used a carousel scam to defraud the British tax collector from hundreds of thousands of pounds was today banned from holding directorships for 12 years. William Robert Howard, 45, ran the now liquidated Expeditors Ltd from 2004 until its ultimate demise in 2017 when HMRC made …

  1. TheVogon Silver badge

    He should have used the Sponge Bob plan. HMRC wouldnt have bothered investigating for only £20k. Surprised they had the records to go back so far to find the fraud

  2. kain preacher

    Why is he not in jail then ?

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      > Why is he not in jail then ?

      Presumably because the unpaid bill was only £24k -odd and there is some expectation that he might be able to pay that back at some point in the future - which being in prison wouldn't help with.

      The whole things seems odd: starts off saying only a small amount owing but then 'vast' amounts involved in a VAT carousel fraud. So which is it?

      1. TheVogon Silver badge

        It was a limited company. He is not personally liable for the debt.

        1. katrinab Silver badge

          He is however personally liable to repay any money he took out of the company. Then that money can be used to pay the tax bill.

          1. DDR

            He only has to repay if they can prove misfeasance. He is not liable for money taken out otherwise.

        2. myhandler

          Not personally liable for the debt, no, but if he broke the law he could go to prison

        3. Alan Brown Silver badge

          "He is not personally liable for the debt."

          As a shareholder, perhaps not.

          As a DIRECTOR, deliberately engaging in criminal activity, _yes_, he is.

          Limited liability only shields the shareholders and only if they don't know what's going on.

      2. katrinab Silver badge

        The offshore bank in question was very likely First Curaçao International Bank. It was shut down by the Dutch authorities, and they likely passed on the UK evaded taxes to HMRC.

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "starts off saying only a small amount owing but then 'vast' amounts involved in a VAT carousel fraud. So which is it?"

        Quite possibly both.

        VATman shut him down for tax arrears, and then the administrators turned up the fraud.

  3. macjules Silver badge


    Should have renamed his company to Apple or Amazon. HMRC would have only fined him £1 then.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    sounds like a job for blockchain ...

    Won't kill fraud, but will make each step transparent.

  5. Stevie Silver badge


    Hardly seems worth doing the crime for that amount.

  6. PNGuinn

    AH - perhaps THIS is the solution

    So - a little VAT fraud can get you banned as a director for 12 years.

    Now, all we need to do is get beanie chancellor to put something in the next budgie about a new tax to combat phone scamming ...

    ... implicating OFFCON for collusion if it happens ...

  7. cb7

    Well done HMRC

    Now go after Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon et al with the same vigour

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020