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Restaurant bosses cooked the books and pocketed tips in £800k fraud

Press release   •   Nov 16, 2018 12:40 GMT

L-R Mohammed Sharrif Udin, Sadiqur Rahman, Abdul Kamal and Mizanur Rahman

Four Black Country fraudsters who ran a chain of upmarket Indian restaurants have been handed jail sentences totalling 10 years for an £800,000 fraud that saw them pocket staff tips and hide sales to evade tax.

Mohammed Sharif Uddin, 48, Mizanur Rahman, 44, Sadiqur Rahman, 45, all of Wednesbury, along with Abul Kamal, 41, of West Bromwich, lied about takings to evade more than £500,000 in tax at their Panache restaurants, an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) revealed.

All four men also stole another £295,000 in tax credits by lying about their income.

The Rhamans were each jailed for three years and Uddin and Kamal both received suspended two-year prison sentences. All four men were also disqualified from acting as directors for a total of 24 years.

Mizanur Rahman spent money on holidays to Florida, Mauritius and Dubai. More than £175,000 was sent to Bangladesh and rental properties were also bought in the Midlands.

Richard Mayer, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:

“These fraudsters abused the tax system in a cynical and systematic way to help fund their lifestyles. They took money intended for staff and deprived public services of vital funding by stealing from the taxpayer.

“They are all now paying the price and we will be taking the money back from them. If you believe someone is benefitting from tax fraud please call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

HMRC investigators found that the men hid the majority of their cash takings and pocketed staff tips at their Sutton Coldfield restaurant to evade tax.

The Rahmans also failed to pay £240,000 VAT on the sale of their Stafford and Lichfield restaurants.

More than £300,000 from the sale of the two properties was paid into an account controlled by Sadiqur Rahman. Some of the money was sent to Bangladesh, but it was nearly all withdrawn within 21 days.

HMRC investigators arrested the men in 2015 and found paper and computer records at the homes of Uddin and Mizanur Rahman detailing how they had systematically suppressed cash takings.

All four admitted fraud during a hearing at Birmingham Crown Court on December 14, 2017 and were sentenced at the same court today.

In jailing the men, Judge William Edis QC, said:

“This was an extensive, planned and prolonged tax fraud. You systematically, regularly and frequently under declared sales at the Sutton Coldfield restaurant and kept shadow books that showed the true picture.

“These frauds took place over six years with the creation of a bogus paper trail. It was sustained and planned.”

HMRC has recovered more than £538,000 so far, but confiscation proceedings to recover the remaining proceeds of crime will follow.

Information about any type of tax fraud can also be reported to HMRC online at www.gov.uk/report-an-unregistered-trader-or-business.

Notes to Editors

  1. Mizanur Rahman (DOB 28/07/1974) of John Wesley Way, Wednesbury, pleaded guilty to cheating the public revenue of VAT, Corporation Tax, Income Tax and National Insurance between 2009 and 2015. He also admitted knowingly under declaring income to obtain tax credits between 2005 and 2015. He was sentenced to three years in prison at Birmingham Crown Court on November 16, 2018. He was also disqualified from acting as a director for seven years.
  2. Sadiqur Rahman (DOB 12/07/1973) of Churchfields Road, Wednesbury, pleaded guilty to cheating the public revenue of VAT, Corporation Tax, Income Tax and National Insurance between 2009 and 2015. He also admitted knowingly under declaring income to obtain tax credits between 2005 and 2015. He was sentenced to three years in prison at Birmingham Crown Court on November 16, 2018.He was also disqualified from acting as a director for seven years.
  3. Mohammed Sharif Uddin (DOB 20/08/1970) of Holyhead Road, Wednesbury, pleaded guilty to cheating the public revenue of VAT, Corporation Tax, Income Tax and National Insurance between 2009 and 2015. He also admitted knowingly under declaring income with a view to obtain tax credits between 2009 and 2015. He was sentenced to two years prison, suspended for two years, at Birmingham Crown Court on November 16, 2018.He was also disqualified from acting as a director for five years.
  4. Abul Kamal (DOB 30/05/1977) of Brandon Close, West Bromwich, pleaded guilty to cheating the public revenue of VAT, Corporation Tax, Income Tax and National Insurance between 2009 and 2015. He also admitted knowingly under declaring income to obtain tax credits between 2005 and 2015. He was sentenced to two years prison, suspended for two years, at Birmingham Crown Court on November 16, 2018. He was also disqualified from acting as a director for five years.
  5. The HMRC Fraud Hotline - on 0800 788 887 - is available between 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, 365 days a year. You can also report online using our digital form available on GOV.UK.
  6. HMRC’s flickr site www.flickr.com/hmrcgovuk
  7. Follow HMRC’s press office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice

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.

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