The owner of Moroccan restaurant in Nottingham’s city centre has been jailed for 19 months after pocketing £55,000 in VAT charges made by customers.
An investigation by HMRC found that Ali Elbahtini Ibrahim, owner of Marrakesh Moroccan, voided cash payments, removing them from till records to hide the restaurant’s actual sales and avoid paying the tax for four years.
The fraud was identified when HMRC investigators visited the restaurant and paid cash for a meal. When they returned later there was no record of the transaction on the restaurant’s records.
Richard Young, assistant director, fraud investigation service at HMRC, 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.”
HMRC has started proceedings to recover the stolen money.