Antique dealer jailed for £1.6 million tax evasion

A West End antique jewellery trader has been jailed after being caught by the taxman fraudulently claiming over £1.6M in VAT repayments; by creating fake invoices for Rolex and Cartier watches.

Jonathan Uri Shohet (aged 45) of Baldock in Hertfordshire, ran an antique business in London’s West End.  He used stolen invoice books and fake invoices to claim back VAT from HM Revenue & Customs even though he hadn’t actually purchased many of the watches that he had claimed the VAT back on.

During a routine VAT inspection HMRC tax officers discovered a number of large cash purchases – some as high as £80,000.  The tax investigators then checked these “purchases” with the purported suppliers, and found that some of the transactions had never taken place.  In another variant to his tax evasion Shohet used many legitimate invoices to reclaim the VAT back a second time.

During dawn raids on Shohet’s home address and business premises a safe was seized.  In it the tax inspectors found a number of illicit invoice books from several watch retailers. The invoice books were forensically analysed, and Jonathan Shohet’s fingerprints were positively identified.  Shohet was arrested on the 4th October 2011 at Heathrow Airport as he arrived back in the UK from Dubai.  He was carrying £17,000 in cash, which was also seized.

Criminal Prosecutions
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