Two Kent fraudsters who denied £11.7 million from British taxpayers in a fraud worth £23 million have been jailed for a combined 15 years.

Narinder Chada, 62, of The Russetts, Meopham, and Gurmail Dosanjh, 46, of Singlewell Road, Gravesend, were sentenced to seven and eight years in jail respectively, yesterday morning (April 22) at Southwark Crown Court.

The pair were found guilty of conspiracy to cheat the public purse at Southwark on March 26, after setting up fraudulent companies to buy and sell carbon credits.

They bought the credits at market value and sold them cheaply while charging clients VAT, which they did not pass on to the government.

The pair have been disqualified as company directors for 10 years and ordered to return  all remaining bills.

Daniel Andrew Barrs, 65, from New Place Gardens in Lingfield was given three seven year sentences for money for money laundering the £23 million made in the scam. The jail terms will run concurrently.

Barrs’ 29-year-old son, also Daniel Barrs, from Suffolk Close in Horley, was also given three sentences of three years each for facilitating money laundering, which willl run concurrently.

The Kent and Essex serious crime directorate started an investigation in May 2011 after information was passed to the force by HM Revenue and Customs.

The first arrests were made in April 2012 and the case came to trial in 2015.

News Shopper: Collister and Austin appeared at Southwark Crown Court yesterday

Detective constable Phil Kershaw from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: "The group dishonestly and deliberately abused the VAT system.

"We followed the trail of laundered cash from the UK to Europe, the Middle East and as far as New Zealand and Australia.

"Barrs and Barrs facilitated the money laundering by setting up three offshore corporate structures and provided money laundering platforms within overseas bank accounts.

"This was a very organised operation but we were determined to piece together enough evidence to bring those responsible to justice."

He added: "This was not a victim-less crime.

"By depriving the Government of millions of pounds of VAT, the offenders were in effect stealing from all UK taxpayers.

"The money should have been spent on schools, hospitals and other services.

"Once sentencing has been passed, the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate will be using Proceeds of Crime Act legislation to attempt to recoup as much of the money for the taxpayer as possible.

"I hope this case serves as a warning to anyone trying to commit tax fraud that the authorities, whether Kent Police or HMRC, will catch up with you."