A self-employed pastor, who had not registered with HMRC, and then declined the opportunity to settle his affairs on a civil basis, using Code Of Practice 9 was sentenced at the Old Bailey this week for “Cheating the Public Revenue.”
Jerome Uba Anekwe, aged 42 from Kings Langley in Hertfordshire preached at the El-Shaddai Christian Centre, Golders Green, London, from 2004 to 2009 but he never registered with HM Revenue and Customs as self-employed, and didn’t declare any of his £238,000 earnings, thus evading Income Tax of £72,000.
When HMRC discovered this, they gave him the opportunity to clear matters up on civil lines: that is by paying the tax, interest and penalties rather than facing a prosecution. They issued him with COP9 (“Investigations where we suspect tax fraud”). But he declined the offer to make a full disclosure: leaving HMRC with little choice but to prosecute him.
HMRC’s Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation said: “This sends a clear message that we will try and give people a chance to put their affairs in order, but if they refuse to we will take firm action”.
Anekwe pleaded guilty to Cheating the Public Revenue and was sentenced to: 2 years imprisonment (suspended for two years); ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid work; and pay costs of £2,500.
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