A convicted tax fraudster who fled the UK in an attempt to avoid HMRC’s Proceeds Of Crime Act Confiscation Notice, which ordered him to pay £250,000 in back taxes, has been extradited back to the United Kingdom from Spain: and he now faces an additional 6 years prison term.
Leib Berger (aged 53 and previously known as Lawrence Goldberg) a South African national, set himself up in West London as a fake tax agent in order to send fraudulent tax returns to HMRC – claiming substantial tax repayments. Following an investigation by HMRC, Berger was arrested and charged with committing tax fraud. In September 2011, he pleaded guilty to Cheating the Public Revenue of more than £1 million of tax.; and was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment. In December 2012, an Old Bailey judge ordered him to repay £249,999 by December 2013 – or receive a further default jail sentence of 16 months. Rather than paying up, Mr Berger fled to Spain.
HM Revenue and Customs continued their tax investigation, and its tax inspectors uncovered more assets owned by Berger. In September 2015, the POCA Confiscation Order was amended to £1.5 million. In October 2015, the default prison sentence (for non-payment of the order) was increased to six years.
The tax inspectors did not give up there. Berger was tracked down to an address in Spain and arrested there on 7 February 2017. He was extradited back to the UK earlier this week. He will now have to serve the 6 year jail term.
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