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The Crown Prosecution Service is the government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

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Man sentenced for eBay tax evasion totalling almost £300,000

03/09/2014

John Woolfenden was sentenced yesterday at Bolton Crown Court to two years imprisonment for two counts of cheating the public revenue and one count of concealing or transferring criminal property. Woolfenden evaded paying £299,752.93 in revenue whilst trading on eBay over a period of six years and pleaded guilty to the charges. It is the responsibility of private traders to disclose their earnings and pay correct amounts of tax, this is not the responsibility of online trading sites such as eBay.

Arslan Khan, Specialist Fraud Prosecutor at the CPS, said: "John Woolfenden was an eBay trader who defrauded HMRC by failing to declare income from online sales and failing to register for VAT. He operated an online DVD, music and games business, however failed to disclose this and the significant levels of profit he received from these sales.

"Globalworldentertainments had been trading over 500,000 items of stock with a turnover valued at £1.4 million over many years. Woolfenden stole from the taxpayer by failing to pay tax due on his earnings and instead pocketed a significant sum of money owing to HMRC. He must now face the consequences of his actions.

"Those who choose to stay under the radar, operating in a cashless economy, but leaving behind a paper trail of transactions, may be in for an unpleasant surprise.

"When some law-abiding tax payers are suffering real hardship, the need to demonstrate that we will deter, detect and prosecute those who evade tax is greater than ever."

Details of charges:

John Eric Woolfenden
  1. Between 10/02/2009 and 29/12/2009 at Bury and elsewhere in England and Wales, concealed, disguised, converted, transferred or removed criminal property, namely monies from unpaid tax, by means of bank and cheque transfers, contrary to sections 327(1) and 334 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
  2. Between 16/02/2006 and 31/03/2013 at Bury and elsewhere in England and Wales did an act, namely failed to declare monies from online trading, with intent to prejudice or defraud Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, contrary to Common Law.
  3. Between 16/02/2006 and 31/03/2013 at Bury and elsewhere in England and Wales did an act, namely failed to register and account for VAT, with intent to prejudice or defraud Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, contrary to Common Law.

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are three national casework divisions: Specialist Fraud (formerly Central Fraud and Welfare, Rural & Health Divisions), Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. CPS Direct is a 'virtual' 14th Area which provides charging decisions to all police forces and other investigators across England and Wales - it operates twenty-four hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  3. At 31 March 2014 we employed a workforce of approximately 6237 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2226 prosecutors and 3629 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website:  www.cps.gov.uk.
  4. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.