Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have reiterated their intent to continue the global search for convicted fraudster Gareth Johnson most wanted man, five years after the Tayside man fled the UK.
The government agency have revealed it has seized and sold off some of Johnson’s assets, including sports cars and a luxury homes, enabling it to recover more than £1million for the public purse from the vast sums owed by the fraudster.
51-year-old Johnson, formerly from Turin in Forfar, remains at large after going on the run with his 75-year-old father Geoffrey before a £20 million mobile phone fraud trial in 2014.
A HMRC spokesperson said: “We’re actively working to bring Gareth Johnson back to face justice as we’ve done with his father Geoffrey.
“HMRC officers are working closely with Interpol and law enforcement in other countries to track down the tax fraudster.
“We’re also working to identify his assets so we can recover money stolen from taxpayers.
“So far we’ve recovered £1m through the forced sale of his property, land and other valuables.”
The pair were ordered by HMRC to pay back £109m or 14 years would be added to the 10 and 12-year jail terms imposed in their absence.
Despite international arrest warrants being issued the pair continued to hide in plain sight in Tanzania where they ran a number of businesses including a plant hire firm with 125 employees in Dar-es-Salaam where they also owned clubs and restaurants.
They subsequently fled across the border to Kenya, where Gareth lived in Nairobi while his father stayed in Mombasa.
With the net closing in on the pair, Johnson’s father was captured in 2017 and is currently serving a 24-and-a-half year prison sentence, after attempting to illegally enter Dubai from Kenya to evade capture. However, Gareth Johnson remains at large after the trail went cold, despite a reward being offered for information in Kenya.
The Johnsons were part of an 18-member crime gang that stole £20 million in a mobile phone VAT fraud who received jail sentences totally 135 years.
Their carousel fraud, stretching across Andorra, Dubai, Hong Kong, USA, Switzerland, Portugal and the UK was investigated by HMRC leading to four criminal trials between 2012 and 2014.