"Karim made a deliberate decision to lie to evade his tax obligations"
A married couple from Evington, Leicester were sentenced on September 26, 2019, for evading over £190,000 worth of tax.
Company boss Shezaad Karim, aged 40, and his wife Sabina, aged 48, defrauded the tax system of £194,280 and used the money to live a luxury lifestyle.
However, tax investigators discovered a safety deposit box in Birmingham which belonged to the couple. It contained £180,000 in cash and gold jewellery.
Shezaad purposely concealed company sales, lied about his income to evade paying VAT and income tax, and stashed the proceeds in a secret deposit box.
Shezaad, who was the director of electronics and mobile phone accessory company MAK Digital (AA) Ltd, and Sabina used the money for lavish holidays, expensive cars and gold jewellery.
Richard Paris, assistant director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service said:
“Karim made a deliberate decision to lie to evade his tax obligations and his wife helped him launder the stolen money to line their own pockets.
“Criminals like the Karims create an uneven playing field for honest, hardworking businesses.”
“That’s something we will not tolerate.”
The married couple’s fraudulent activities were uncovered by HMRC after inconsistencies in the company’s shipping information was noticed.
Investigators discovered that Shezaad had received around £600,000 in online sales over a three-year period. He hid this from HMRC to evade VAT and income tax payments.
He also created bogus invoices in an attempt to cover his tracks.
Shezaad and Sabina withdrew the stolen cash in large amounts. Over a three-year period, cashpoint withdrawals totalled £22,429 and over the counter transactions totalled £248,487.
In July 2017, the married couple were arrested. Their home and business addresses were searched.
Officers found the key to a safety deposit box in Birmingham. Gold jewellery and £180,000 in cash were inside the safety deposit box which was seized.
In January 2019, Shezaad pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering while Sabina admitted money laundering in June 2019.
At Leicester Crown Court, Shezaad Karim was jailed for 28 months and banned from acting as a director for seven years.
Sabina received an 18-month prison sentence which was suspended for two years. She was also ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.
Leicester Mercury reported that after the Karim’s sentencing hearing, Mr Paris appealed for help from the public to catch fraud cheats.
He added: “I urge anyone with information on this type of fraud to contact HMRC online or call the Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”