Chichester resident spared immediate jail term after tax theft

Court
Court

A CAMERA shop owner who kept more than £73,500 for himself instead of paying it to HMRC has been spared an immediate jail term.

Wai Lam Hau, 64, of Plainwood Close, Chichester, was given a two-year jail term – suspended for two years – and was also handed 100 hours unpaid work.

Hau, who also goes by the name William, admitted keeping income tax and national insurance he deducted from his employees’ wages rather than paying it to HM Revenue and Customs.

He ran three photographic and camera shops trading as R03 (Chichester) Ltd in Potters Bar, Luton and Hertford.

When his company went out of business in 2009, Hau continued to run Hertford Cameras in Hertford and Lorell Photographics in Luton, for four years, but failed to tell HMRC.

“This fraudulent and dishonest behaviour is never acceptable and HMRC will work to bring to justice anyone involved in this type of criminality,” said Paul Barton, assistant director at the HMRC’s fraud investigation service.

Investigations revealed Hau had three employees and was making deductions from their wages using out of date tax codes and he did not give them payslips.

These deductions were never paid to HMRC.

Mr Barton also urged anyone who had information on a suspected fraud to call the 24-hour customs hotline on 0800 59 5000.

Hau was interviewed and charged with cheating the public revenue. After pleading guilty he was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court on December 2.

As well as the fine and unpaid work, he also received a curfew order where he will be monitored by an electronic tag between 9pm and 6am for 12 weeks.

Hau paid back £47,608 prior to his sentencing and at Ipswich Crown Court was ordered to pay a further £25,662 within 28 days or face nine months in prison.

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