A Glasgow woman who ran a £39,000 tobacco counterfeiting fraud operation from her flat has been jailed for two years.
She was investigated by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) who discovered that she was committing fraud from her home in West Graham Street.
In raids that took place in 2013 and 2014, HMRC Officers found Xiao Mei Wang (48) with thousands of fake tobacco pouches, phoney tax stamps, £2,710 in cash, bogus holographic seals and over 120kgs of counterfeit tobacco and illicit cigarettes stashed around her flat.
UK Border Force officers from Glasgow, East Midlands and Stansted airports also alerted HMRC after intercepting counterfeit labels destined for Wang’s West Graham Street flat. In total, 24,155 counterfeit labels were found either in her flat or stopped en route – enough packaging to evade almost £218,000 in duty.
David Odd, assistant director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Wang had equipment to counterfeit large quantities of illicit tobacco in her living room but she will now pay the price for her criminal behaviour.
“Tobacco fraud costs UK public services £2 billion a year in lost taxes. This illegal trade is unregulated and those involved are more likely to sell products to children and vulnerable people.”
The £2710 was forfeited to The Crown.
Anyone with information about smuggled or counterfeit tobacco products should contact the Customs hotline on 0800 59 5000.