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Butcher who evaded £3m in VAT is jailed

A butcher who stole £3.3m from the taxman to fund a luxury lifestyle after his business collapsed has been jailed following an investigation by HM Revenue & Customs.


The 47 year old man from Yorkshire was sentenced to five years at Leeds Crown Court, having previously pleaded guilty to cheating the public revenue.

He was a successful businessman who owned a number of butchers in local branches of kwik Save. When trade slowed in 1996 he used his business to siphon off taxpayers money.

When HMRC began the investigation he claimed his fictitious accountant had all of his paperwork. He lied to investigators about his accounts and provided fake business records to show his claims were genuine. He spent the majority of the money buying a luxury home for his family and a bungalow for his son, six high performance vehicles, electric guitars and numerous Rolex watches.

Under questioning from HMRC officers he admitted that he had consistently lied to the taxman, describing his business affairs from 1996 as ”all fake”. In reality he had not made any legitimate business income since 1996.

HHJ Belcher said in court:“This crime was aggravated by greed, not need, and at the expense of the government and the taxpayer. Your crime hits all members of society; you have deprived the government of money and the NHS has been deprived also – the money could have been spent by the NHS. You and your family were the sole beneficiary of this crime.”

For further information visit the HMRC website.

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