Four tax cheats who ran a chain of upmarket Indian restaurants have been sentenced after an £800,000 fraud that saw them pocket staff tips and hide sales.
Mizanur Rahman, 44, and Sadiqur Rahman, 45, were both jailed for three years at Birmingham Crown Court, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said.
Mohammed Sharif Uddin, 48, and 41-year-old Abul Kamal were given suspended two-year jail terms for their part in evading more than £500,000 in tax at their restaurants.
All four men also stole another £295,000 in tax credits by lying about their income, HMRC said in a statement issued after the case.
During an investigation into the men – who helped to run restaurants in Stafford, Lichfield, and Sutton Coldfield – it was found that Mizanur Rahman spent money on holidays to Florida, Mauritius and Dubai.
The Rahmans also failed to pay £240,000 VAT on the sale of two restaurants, while more than £175,000 was transferred to Bangladesh.
Mizanur Rahman, of John Wesley Way, Wednesbury, West Midlands; Sadiqur Rahman, of Churchfields Road, Wednesbury; Uddin, of Holyhead Road, Wednesbury, and Kamal, of Brandon Close, West Bromwich, all admitted fraud and under-declaring income.
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 from the men, who face confiscation proceedings to recover the remaining proceeds of crime.
Commenting on the inquiry, Richard Mayer, of the HMRC Fraud Investigation Service, 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.”
Anyone who believes someone is benefiting from tax fraud is urged to call the HMRC Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.