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Mini-cab couple sentenced for tax fraud

Press release   •   Jun 04, 2015 15:40 BST

A married couple who ran a mini-cab company in North London have been sentenced for stealing £138,000 in Tax Credits, Income Tax and National Insurance and have been ordered to pay back the money within six months.

Cab driver Stanley Orenstein and his wife Danielle, who managed the business, were arrested as part of a HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation. Officers discovered the couple were selling illicit cigarettes and tobacco from their cab office in Stamford Hill. Investigations also revealed that Stanley Orenstein hadn’t declared his earnings as a self-employed mini-cab driver and Danielle had deliberately lied about their earnings to get extra Tax Credits.

Their criminal profits were used to part-finance two houses in North London, one which they rented out, and to fund investments and property in Israel.

John Cooper, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said:

“To the man in the street the Orensteins appeared to be running a legitimate business, but it was really a front for wider criminality.

“HMRC won’t stop in our efforts to track down cheats who rip off honest, law abiding people who pay what is due, when it is due. This money is vital to keep our country running and provide the public services we all need and use.”

In 2008 and 2009 HMRC officers made eight seizures of tobacco products at the Orenstein’s cab office and from their home in South Tottenham. As investigations continued, dozens of people were seen entering and leaving the mini-cab premises with packets of smuggled cigarettes and pouches of tobacco – with the couple profiting to the sum of at least £79,000.

In 2010 they were arrested. During searches of their home and the mini-cab office a quantity of illicit cigarettes and tobacco, and cash totalling £71,000 were seized. Investigators also discovered that Stanley Orenstein had failed to declare his earnings to avoid paying £15,000 in Income Tax and National Insurance. His wife had fraudulently claimed £44,000 in Tax Credits by failing to declare the couple’s full earnings.

They appeared at Isleworth Crown Court today, 4 June 2015, where Stanley Orenstein and Danielle Orenstein were sentenced and a Confiscation Order for £138,000, to be paid within six months, was granted.

Notes for editors

  1. Stanley Orenstein, DOB 11.06.62, a self-employed mini-cab driver of Clifton Gardens, London N15, pleaded guilty to evading tax on the sale of cigarettes of £14,000 and on his mini-cab earnings of £15,000.He was sentenced to 16 months in prison, suspended for one year.
  2. He was ordered to repay £54,500 with six months, or go to jail for nine months.
  3. Danielle Orenstein, DOB 04.07.65, a mini-cab firm manager of the same address, pleaded guilty to evading tax on the sale of cigarettes totalling £10,000 and five counts of Tax Credits fraud totalling £44,000. She was sentenced to one year in prison, suspend for 12 months for the Tax Credits fraud and nine months in prison, suspended for one year, for the tax evasion offences.
  4. She was ordered to repay £83,500 with six months, or go to jail for one year.
  5. Images are available on request or at HMRC’s Flickr channel
  6. Follow us on Twitter @hmrcgovuk

Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is the UK’s tax authority.

HMRC is responsible for making sure that the money is available to fund the UK’s public services and for helping families and individuals with targeted financial support.