"He lied about his takings with the intention of pocketing cash to fund his own lifestyle."
Restaurant owner Motin Miah, aged 42, of Ferndown, Dorset, was jailed for two years and eight months at Bournemouth Crown Court on Friday, November 16, 2018, for a £200,000 tax fraud.
It was heard that he had lied about the takings from his Joy restaurants in Charminster, Southbourne and Ferndown to evade paying £154,763 VAT over a five-year period.
In addition, Miah evaded paying £48,943 in income tax. He did not declare his income as being over £7,800 a year to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
However, he put his earnings as at least £50,000 annually on his mortgage applications.
Miah also received income from the properties he owned and rented out.
The total value of the fraud committed by Miah was £203,763.
In October 2015, HMRC officers visited Miah’s Southbourne restaurant to interview him about the possible fraudulent activities.
During the interview, Miah lied to officers and said that he was not the owner of the restaurants and did not know who the owners were.
However, they had enough evidence to prove that he owned the three Indian restaurants and charged him with tax evasion.
HMRC fraud investigators said Miah had used the cash from his tax evasion to “build up a substantial property portfolio.”
Miah was due to appear before magistrates in Poole during September 2017, however he did not attend the hearing and a warrant for arrest with bail was issued.
Richard Wilkinson, assistant director of the Fraud Investigation Service at HMRC said:
“Miah stole more than £200,000 that should have gone to fund our public services. Instead, he lied about his takings with the sole intention of pocketing cash to fund his own lifestyle and build up a substantial property portfolio.”
On September 10, 2018, Miah pleaded guilty to cheating the public revenue between April 1, 2010, and October 13, 2015.
In addition, he pleaded guilty to evading tax income between April 6, 2007, and April 5, 2015, at Bournemouth Crown Court.
Sentencing him, Judge Fuller QC said:
“Despite a body of evidence, you lied in interview and said that you weren’t in charge and didn’t know who the bosses were.”
Motin Miah was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison. In addition, he was also disqualified from being a company director for 10 years.
Mr Wilkinson added: “Confiscation proceedings are now underway and HRMC will continue to pursue criminals who attack the tax system.
“We ask anyone with information about suspected VAT fraud to contact us online or call our Fraud Hotline on 0800788887.”