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Take-away boss jailed for fraudulent tax returns and benefit claims

|News, Fraud and economic crime

A take-away owner has been jailed for cheating the Exchequer out of £171,000 by submitting fraudulent tax returns and false tax credit applications.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said that Rownock Sekar Talukdar, 50, ran the Moortown Tandoori in Street Lane, Moortown, Leeds from October 2004 until December 2020.

He had a partner initially but became the sole proprietor from 2006. The CPS said that he consistently under-declared his income from the business so that he could pay less tax and also claim tax credits.

He submitted multiple fraudulent Value Added Tax (VAT) returns between 2012 to 2018, fraudulent Income Tax returns from 2014 to 2018 and false tax credit applications from 2014 to 2018. The amount he fraudulently claimed is around £171,000 in total.

He submitted paperwork of his sales to his accountant but no till receipts or evidence of card machine or online sales.

Investigations with take away delivery companies such as Just Eat and Hungry House revealed that he was doing much more business than he claimed.

Talukdar’s first application for tax credits in 2013 was genuine but his applications to renew in subsequent years were fraudulent as he was not declaring his full income.

Talukdar was brought in for questioning in September 2018 but answered “No Comment” to all questions about his financial affairs.

A forensic accountant was brought in to go over his accounts. He was charged with fraudulent evasion of VAT and income tax and fraudulent claims for Tax credits.

His company was dissolved in December 2020 and in March 2021 he pleaded guilty to all three counts.

On 5 May 2022 at Leeds Crown Court, he was  jailed for 18 months.

Senior Crown Prosecutor Maqsood Khan of CPS Mersey Cheshire’s Fraud Unit, said: “Rownock Talukdar is a serial fraudster who submitted fake tax returns to HM Revenue and Customs year after year.

“He also gave false declarations of his income to the Department for Work and Pensions to continue to claim tax credits when his true income meant that he wasn’t entitled to them.

“This has been a complex investigation involving the CPS and two other Government departments. Talukdar eventually pleaded guilty after a compelling case was built. There are many demands on the public purse and many people who genuinely need the help of the State.

“Talukdar is not one of them. He is a cheat and now he is behind bars.”

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