Press release -
Pastor sentenced for tax fraud
A self-employed Hertfordshire pastor, who withheld details of his income to dodge £72,000 in tax, has been sentenced today after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Jerome Uba Anekwe, 42, preached at the El-Shaddai Christian Centre, London, from 2004 to 2009 but never declared any of his £238,000 earnings.
He was given the chance to come clean about his tax affairs after HMRC contacted him in relation to his work as a pastor but he failed to do so, resulting in an underpayment of Income Tax totalling £72,000.
Chris Gill, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said:
“Anekwe worked as a self-employed pastor and knew full well he should have paid the tax due but failed to do so. He was offered the chance to put his financial affairs in order, and he could have avoided a criminal record and serious damage to his reputation but, even at that stage, he continued to lie. Now he is paying the price for his dishonesty.
“HMRC takes tax fraud extremely seriously and anyone deliberately choosing to evade their taxes will be prosecuted. This sends a clear message that we will try and give people a chance to put their affairs in order, but if they refuse to we will take firm action.
Anekwe pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended for two years. He was also ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid work and pay costs of £2500 at the Old Bailey, London.
Notes for editors
1.Jerome Uba Anekwe, DOB 10/05/1972, of Five Acres, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire.
2.He was a self-employed pastor at the El-Shaddai International Christian Centre, North End Road, Golders Green, London.
3.He pleaded guilty to Cheating the Public Revenue on 19 February 2015, at the Old Bailey, London and was sentenced today, 23 March 2015 to two years imprisonment suspended for two years. He was also ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid work and pay costs of £2500.
4.Anekwe was given the opportunity to resolve his outstanding tax issues by using HMRC’s Contractual Disclosure Facility. Information on the facility can be found at: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/admittingfraud/
5.Anyone with information about people who may be involved in tax fraud can contact the Tax Evasion Hotline on 0800 788 887.
6.Follow HMRC Press Office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice
7.HMRC’s Flickr channel: www.flickr.com/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.