Four disabled con artists used their blue badges to buy hundreds of luxury cars then sell them on for a profit in a tax scam worth almost £1 million.
The plot exploited a law allowing disabled people to buy vehicles VAT free if they are adapted for personal use.
In the first case of its kind in Britain, Raymond Gordon, 57; Margaret Lunt, 68; Arthur Jackson, 62; and Martin Burke, 51, admitted conspiracy to evade VAT.
The “sophisticated” fraud is thought to have cost HMRC millions nationwide.
Between them, the four defendants bought nearly 100 cars in 2007, knowing they would be sold on, the Manchester Evening News reports.
All the cars were high end – including, for example, a £56,000 Jaguar XK Sports, a £127,000 Bentley Continental GTC convertible, a £130,000 Bentley GTC and a £47,000 Audi Q7.
Raymond Gordon (Image: Manchester Evening News)
The defendants were funded by other criminals who used disabled buyers to purchase 122 cars worth more than £6m.
In doing so they evaded VAT totalling £930,492.
All the cars were sold on – often within days – making more than £370,000 in less than two years.
The defendants themselves made up to £500 per purchase – although Lunt’s solicitor insisted she was paid only ‘expenses’ for travelling around the country.
Nick Clarke QC, prosecuting, said the scam worked on the basis that blue badge holders are let off paying VAT, set at 17.5pc in 2007, as long as the vehicles are for personal use.
Using cash deposited into their accounts or paid directly by the scam’s leaders, the defendants picked up top end cars from dealers.