A Nottingham restaurant owner who charged customers VAT but pocketed the cash has been jailed for 19 months.
Abdou Ali Elbahtini Ibrahim, who ran Marrakech restaurant and bar, pocketed £55,000, an investigation by HM Revenues and Customs (HMRC) revealed.
Between February 2012 and April 2016, the 48-year-old would void cash payments to remove them from till records in a bid to hide the restaurant’s actual sales and evade VAT payments.
During a visit to the restaurant in Chapel Bar, HMRC officers ordered a meal and paid for it in cash. But checks of his business records revealed the purchase had been wiped from the record.
Richard Young, assistant director of HRMC’s fraud investigation service, said: “Ibrahim made a deliberate decision to not disclose his sales in an attempt to avoid his tax obligations and keep the cash, and now he’s paying the price with a criminal record.
“Criminals like Ibrahim create an uneven playing field for the honest majority. That’s something we will not tolerate, and I urge anyone with information on this type of fraud to contact the HMRC hotline on 0800 788 887.”
Ibrahim admitted the fraudulent evasion of VAT and money laundering at a hearing at Nottingham Crown Court this month and was sentenced on Wednesday.
Confiscation proceedings to recover the stolen money have begun.