Dodgy tobacco gang with factory in Dormston sentenced for multi-million pound fraud (From Dudley News)
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Dodgy tobacco gang with factory in Dormston sentenced for multi-million pound fraud
3:14pm Monday 2nd September 2013 in News
A SITE in Dormston was among premises used by a gang running a multi-million pound counterfeit tobacco racket.
The international plot, which cost taxpayers £8.5m, was smashed by customs officers who last week saw members of the 13-strong gang jailed.
The conspiracy was led by Phillip Hall, aged 52, who imported raw leaf tobacco and cutting and shredding machines to produce fake products which were sold under the Golden Virginia brand.
When they raided the gang's premises on Dormston Trading Estate, Burton Road East, customs officers recovered machinery, 810kg of leaf tobacco and bin liners full of shredded tobacco.
Gary Lampon, assistant director of criminal investigation for HMRC, said: “This was a well organised international crime gang masterminded by career criminal Phillip Hall.
"The smuggling plot operated on a commercial scale, both in its organisation of capital and its workforce. They had no regard for the money they stole from public finances and honest taxpayers, which has been substantial.
"We are determined to bring those involved in this form of criminality before the courts so justice can be served.”
Hall was a key figure in the conspiracy who negotiated with foreign suppliers and set up fake businesses to cover up the fraud.
He pleaded guilty to charges in under the Criminal Law Act 1977 and Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 and was sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court to two years in prison to run concurrently with a five year jail term he is currently serving for similar offences.