Five Arrested for Alleged Involvement in HMRC Cyber Attack


The U.K.'s HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) recently announced that five members of suspected organized criminal gang have been arrested on suspicion of launching a cyber attack on HMRC in an attempt to perpetrate a tax fraud scheme totaling £500,000 (h/t Accountancy Age).

Following an HMRC investigation in cooperation with the tax authority's counterparts with its Italian counterparts, a man was arrested at the U.K.'s Stansted Airport on August 24, 2013, as he disembarked a flight from Italy. While that man remains in custody, another four men who were also arrested in London have been released on bail pending further inquiries.

According to an HMRC statement, the group is suspected of stealing other people's identities in order to set up several fraudulent Self Assessment accounts with HMRC in order to attempt to steal £500,000 in tax rebates.

"HMRC's online systems proved extremely resilient to these attacks -- they correctly identified and prevented the vast majority of false repayment attempts from the outset," Andrew Sackey, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation for HMRC, said in a statement. "These arrests clearly demonstrate that we can, and will, apprehend those suspected of attempting to cheat UK taxpayers by defrauding HMRC, with international assistance if necessary."