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Jail for 'champagne lifestyle' tax fraudsters

Latvian Elina Jaksone and Cypriot partner Gagik Manucharyan went to Mauritius on the proceeds of their crimes Credit: HMRC

Customs investigators have cracked what is believed to be the UK's biggest car insurance fraud - run by a couple in Thanet. The couple ran a "ghost" brokerage offering cheap price insurance by lying to legitimate companies.

It meant that had drivers had accidents their policies would not have paid out for damage or injuries.

The couple, from Westgate-on-Sea, funded a luxury lifestyle through their £340,000 tax and motor insurance fraud. They were jailed following an investigation led by HM Revenue and Customs.

The couple used the money to fund a luxury lifestyle. Credit: HMRC

Elina Jaksone, 36, and Gagik Kyriacos Manucharyan, 40, failed to declare or pay tax on their £920,000 earnings as ‘ghost’ insurance brokers. They used the criminal proceeds to buy a £365,000 property, fund private education and purchase two Mercedes vehicles, one of which cost £56,000.

They enjoyed frequent holidays to exotic destinations including Jamaica, Mauritius, Mexico and Tokyo.

The couple’s motor insurance fraud involved the supply of false and misleading information to insurance companies, when arranging policies for their clients.

Jaksone and Manucharyan contacted insurance companies posing as their clients, providing limited information. This allowed the clients, who were mostly Eastern Europeans in the UK, to buy cheaper policies, but the lies meant policies were potentially void.

The couple pocketed about £100 a time in brokerage fees for each policy they arranged, raising £920,000 in the process. None of this income was ever declared to HMRC.

Jaksone also fraudulently claimed £82,000 in tax credits and pension credits by pretending to be a single mother with high childcare costs. She used her mother’s details to obtain pension credits and winter fuel allowance payments.