A pair of fraudsters who bought and sold over 50 properties but failed to pay nearly £1 million in tax, have been jailed for more than eight years.

Himat Chana, 59, of Hoveton Way, Ilford, and Madhu Bhajanehatti, 45, of Regents Drive, Keston, and sold dozens of properties over an eight-year period, evading £991,000 in Capital Gains Tax.

Although the men disclosed some income on their self-assessment tax returns, they deliberately hid the sales of properties across London and Essex, a HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation revealed.

HMRC officers discovered the men had built up their property portfolios by using the proceeds of previous sales. This was uncovered by a property taskforce set up to tackle fraud in the industry.

Bhajanehatti evaded £650,000 in tax and Chana evaded £341,000.

Richard Wilkinson, assistant director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “The duo believed they were above the law and showed a blatant disregard to their obligations by failing to declare substantial income from property sales.

“It is simply unacceptable to steal from UK taxpayers. HMRC continues to pursue those who attempt to hide their income and ensure everyone pays what they owe when they owe it.”

Bhajanehatti admitted the fraud during a hearing at Southwark Crown Court in June 2019. Chana was convicted after trial in August 2019.

On January 17, at the same court, Chana was sentenced to 52 months in jail and Bhajanehatti was sentenced to 50 months in jail.

Bhajanehatti was also ordered to pay back £190,086.42 in a confiscation order.

He has less than three months to pay it back or he faces a further two years and six months in jail.

Confiscation proceedings for Chana are on-going.