Restaurant fraudster caught by own secret books

The owner of a Derbyshire restaurant has been jailed for three years for a £480,000 tax fraud that was discovered when investigators uncovered a hidden sales book dating back five years.

Nazrul Islam, 52, from Birmingham, hid sales in a bid to evade nearly £480,000 of tax payments at his Repton-based restaurant, an investigation by HMRC revealed. Islam was arrested in April 2017, which led to searches of his Great Barr home and his Jaipur restaurant.

HMRC officers discovered meticulous records of daily takings between 2012 and 2017 at his house, which did not match up with sales he submitted in his VAT returns.

They also discovered that Islam had registered a different card payment machine, which was sending payments into a separate account. The card sales, along with the hidden cash sales, helped him hide up to half of his declared takings.

Richard Paris, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “This was a determined, well planned and long running fraud, which even saw Islam buy and use separate card payment machines.

“Tax fraud is not a victimless crime. Islam deprived vital UK public services of this money and he gained an unfair advantage over honest competitors who pay the tax they owe.”

Islam admitted evading VAT, income tax and National Insurance payments at an earlier hearing at Birmingham Crown Court.

He was sentenced to three years prison at the same court on 23 May 2019. He was also disqualified from being a company director for seven years.

HMRC seized £22,170 from Islam’s home in April 2017. The money was found hidden behind a large marble wardrobe and has since been forfeited.

Action to recover the stolen money is now under way.

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