HMRC’s undercover ‘restaurant taskforce’ busts councillor who cooked the books

HMRC

A parish councillor and his brother, who lied about the takings at their Lincolnshire restaurant to steal almost £64,000 in tax, have been jailed.

Turon Miah served the community as a Metheringham Parish Councillor between October 2012 and March 2015 while running Mowgli in the local village, with his younger brother Sufi Miah.

But an HM Revenue and Customs investigation found that for more than three years, the pair were pocketing some of the takings instead of putting them through the books, meaning they paid less VAT than they should have.

The fraud was uncovered after officers from HMRC’s restaurant taskforce carried out test purchases, and during follow-up visits found the company was not accounting for cash sales.

The pair were arrested in March 2015 during searches of their homes and business address. Handwritten notes and ‘takings’ books were found, uncovering the full depth of the fraud. The pair admitted not reporting sales of £382,933, between March 2011 and November 2014, and holding on to £63,822.31 they should have paid in VAT to HMRC.

Richard Young, assistant director of the Fraud Investigation Service at HMRC, said: “Turon Miah was a parish councillor who should have been serving the local community but instead he and his brother Sufi were stealing from it. They went to great lengths to conceal the amount of VAT that should have been paid over to HMRC to help fund vital public services, but were caught out.

“Tax fraud will not be tolerated and HMRC is levelling the playing field for legitimate local businesses who cannot compete with their criminal competitors.”

Turon Miah was sentenced to 20 months in prison and Sufi Miah was sentenced to 16 months in prison when they appeared at Lincoln Crown Court earlier this month. Both pleaded guilty to VAT fraud.

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