The four owners of a chain of upmarket Indian restaurants in the West Midlands were convicted of Common Cheat and given jail sentences totalling 10 years this week: after their £800,000 tax fraud was uncovered by HMRC.
Mizanur Rahman (aged 44), Sadiqur Rahman (45), Mohammed Sharif Uddin (48), and Abul Kamal (41), ran a small chain of Indian restaurants, trading as Panache: in Sutton Coldfield; Stafford; and Lichfield. For 6 years the four men hid takings and pocketed staff tips: evading more than £500,000 in tax. They also made fraudulent claims for tax credits totalling £295,000. The Rahmans also failed to pay £240,000 VAT on the sale of their Stafford and Lichfield restaurants.
Following an in-depth tax investigation HMRC decided to conduct their enquiries on criminal lines. Tax investigators arrested the four in 2015, when a search of their homes unearthed records of the true cash takings: which the judge referred to as “shadow books”.
This week the Rahmans were each jailed for three years. Uddin and Kamal both received suspended two-year prison sentences. All four were also disqualified from acting as directors for a total of 24 years.
HMRC has already recovered more than £538,000, and confiscation proceedings for the rest have started. A spokesman for HMRC Fraud Investigation Service said: “They are all now paying the price and we will be taking the money back from them”.
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