£1m fraudster sentenced to four years jail

A MAN who stole more than £1m by setting up fake tax advisory practices for the purposes of self-assessment tax fraud was sentenced to four years in jail, at the Old Bailey on Friday.

Lawrence Goldberg (pictured), who is originally from South Africa, registered 50 companies to pose as nominated tax advisors. He hijacked other people’s identities and invented other people to use their details to make fraudulent tax returns to HM Revenue & Customs.

Goldberg attempted to steal £5m, but HMRC officers identified the fraud after £1m had been paid. He originally ran the fraud from West London, but moved operations to Portugal. Goldberg went on the run in South Africa before being arrested in March 2008 in relation to suspected South African bank fraud, charges that were later dismissed. He was extradited to the UK in April this year.

John Pointing, assistant director of criminal investigation for HMRC, said: “This was fraud against public funds on a huge scale. HMRC will not stand by while crooks like Goldberg steal money paid by honest taxpayers that is needed for vital services in our communities.

“The extra £900m being invested in HMRC by the government will help us step up the fight against criminals and stamp out tax fraud.”

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