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Gloucestershire Business News

HMRC vows to pursue Gloucester businessman until he returns stolen funds

He has been jailed already and is facing a further two years if he does not pay back at least £67,000, but the HMRC has vowed not to let up in the case of a Gloucester businessman.

Jonathan Schofield, 32, of Kingsway, Gloucester, and a director of Cheltenham based JS Facilities Group Ltd, was found guilty of committing tax fraud totalling £497,000 and jailed for three years in February 2018.

An investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) revealed he made fraudulent declarations of income tax and National Insurance, under the PAYE system, and VAT between 2011 and 2016.

Yesterday Punchline reported he had appeared in Gloucester Crown Court and was ordered to pay back £67,424.47 within three months, or face more time in prison

The confiscation hearing concluded that Schofield had benefited by more than £526,147 from his criminal conduct, but his current realisable assets were less than that.

It was decided HMRC will be able to pursue any future wealth and is keen to make it known.

Zoe Ellerbeck, assistant director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: "Schofield knew he was breaking the law but thought he could get away with ripping off honest taxpayers.

"He's already in jail and now he's facing the financial consequences of his criminal behaviour.

"Our work doesn't finish when a fraudster is jailed, we stop criminals profiting from their crimes and recover the money to fund public services.

"If Schofield doesn't pay back what he owes, he faces even more time behind bars - and will still owe the money."

Schofield was sentenced on February 13 to three years imprisonment for being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of VAT, contrary to section 72 of the VAT Act 1994, and two and a half years for the fraudulent evasion of Income Tax and National Insurance deductions.

The sentences are to run concurrently. The total value of the fraud was £497,000.

On 18 July 2018 at the same court he was ordered to payback £67,424.47 within three months or face a further two years behind bars, under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

There is no appeal against default jail sentences issued in confiscation orders and the order for repayment remains in place after the default sentence is served by the fraudster.

If the assets held by the convicted criminal at the time of the order are less than the benefit derived from the fraud, then any future assets can be confiscated up to the value of the benefit of the fraud.

Read more: Assets of Gloucester businessman seized after half a million pound theft 

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