Two North London café-owners, who stole £67,000 in tax and spent it on gifts including Premier League football tickets for their family, have been sentenced after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Andreas Odysseos, 47, and Kathlena Bowman, 48, who ran the Americanos Café in Edmonton, were found to have made 11 fraudulent VAT repayment claims between May 2012 and August 2014.
HMRC officers discovered the couple, who together cooked and ran front of house in their American–themed diner, produced dozens of fake invoices, for non-existent kitchen equipment, to support their fraudulent claims. The couple continued to fraudulently claim VAT repayments even after the café had ceased trading.
The couple spent the proceeds of their fraud, £67,768.69, on lifestyle expenses and gifts for their family, including tickets to see Tottenham Hotspur.
Anthony Swarbrick, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
“Odysseos and Bowman thought they were above the law and that they could get away with cheating the system. They were wrong and they are paying the price for their greed.
“Those who avoid paying their taxes steal from public services and create an uneven playing field for honest competitors. I urge anyone with information on tax fraud to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000 and report it.”
Odysseos was sentenced to 26 months in prison and Bowman to 20 months in prison, suspended for two years, at Blackfriars Crown Court today.
Notes to Editors
- Andreas Odysseos (DOB 18/09/1969) of Miles Road, Hornsey was found guilty of furnishing a false document contrary to section 72(3)(a) of the Value Added Tax Act 1994 and converting criminal property namely Value Added Tax repayments on 19 January after a trial at Blackfriars Crown Court.
- Kathlena Bowman (DOB 1/2/1969) of Miles Road, Hornsey pleaded guilty to furnishing false documents contrary to 72(3) of the Value Added Tax Act 1994 on 18 November 2016 at Blackfriars Crown Court.
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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.