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Justice is meted out on VAT-cheat butcher

16 March 2012
Categories: News , Admin , VAT
Five years for fraudster with love of the highlife

A butcher with the taste of a Premier League star has been jailed for stealing in excess of £3 million from the public purse.

Gary Turner conned HMRC for more than 14 years, after the concessions of Turners Butchers he owned began to lose trade. From 1996, he faked invoices and submitted false VAT repayment claims to fund a lifestyle typically associated with top-flight footballers.

Turner of Morley, Yorkshire, spent his fraudulently made money on six high-performance cars with private registration plates, a stash of Rolex watches worth over £35,000, and Fender electric guitars. He remodelled his home in lavish style, bought a bungalow for his son, and treated his extended family to luxury foreign holidays.

When HMRC investigators challenged Turner, he directed them to a non-existent accountant and provided forged business records that claimed his main supplier was the Botswana Meat Commission – which had in fact never heard of him.

Under questioning, the butcher admitted he had made no legitimate business income since 1996, describing his affairs from that date as ‘all fake’. In total, he had swindled £3.3 million from the taxman, without the knowledge of his family.

At Leeds Crown Court, Turner, aged 47, pleaded guilty to cheating the public revenue and was given a five-year prison sentence by judge Penelope Belcher, who told him, ‘This crime was aggravated by greed, not need, and at the expense of the government and the taxpayer. Your crime hits all members of society… the money could have been spent by the NHS.’

Crown Prosecution Service fraud specialist Simon Rowlinson claimed Turner’s imprisonment was not the end of the case. ‘We are now determined to go after [his] illicit gains and get that money back,’ he said.

Around £785,000 in assets has so far been restrained, and confiscation proceedings are under way to recover the rest of Turner’s of criminal gains.

Categories: News , Admin , VAT
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