Preston poker champ and fraudster jailed for role in £40million scam
A poker champion from Preston has been stripped of tournament prize-money for a second time to repay money he stole in a tax fraud.
Adam Lulat, 27, of Hawkhurst Road, Preston, pleaded guilty to money laundering and was jailed for 28 months in 2015 for his involvement in a £40 million money laundering scam.
An investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) also found that Lulat had played a role in a major pan-Europe VAT fraud.
Lulat was ordered to repay £68,930 in August 2018, after topping a poker tournament in Manchester.
HMRC has now stripped him of his prize-money for a second time after he won another major poker competition.
The 27-year-old was ordered to hand over a further £30,200 prize money within three months or face 18 months in jail, at a confiscation hearing at Manchester Crown Court on Wednesday, March 20.
Debbie Porter, assistant director at the HRMC Fraud Investigation Service, said: “Lulat may have hoped that his win would go under the table, but once again we had an ace up our sleeve and it is HMRC cashing in his chips.
“This sends a clear message that HMRC will relentlessly pursue criminals for their ill-gotten gains."
Lulat was part of a six man crime gang jailed for a total of 25 years and ten months, and ordered to repay £590,000.
He was originally made to repay a nominal £1 due to a lack of assets.
HMRC discovered Lulat was a part of the gang that worked for other crime groups moving approximately £40 million of criminal cash through multiple bank accounts in the UK and other countries between September 1, 2010 and November 30, 2011.
The gang were also behind a separate VAT fraud and HMRC investigators tracked their activities across Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic.
They fabricated businesses to make fraudulent VAT repayment claims against multiple EU member states using a complex web of transactions.
Co-ordinated action with European enforcement agencies exposed the gang’s use of bank accounts and money service bureaux to launder the money across borders before the cash was withdrawn for the gang to pocket.
Anyone with information regarding fraud can contact the new HMRC Fraud hotline on 0800 788 887 or report it online via: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/reportingfraud/online.htm