A self-employed property investor and caterer from Bermondsey, who confessed to stealing more than £70,000 in a tax credit fraud, has been sentenced to 20 months imprisonment.
Khalid Farid, 59, admitted fraudulently claiming tax credits when he was investigated by HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) property taskforce, which was established to identify those who seek to avoid paying tax from property transactions.
Investigators found Farid had eight London homes, acquired in his wife’s name, and yet he was claiming tax credits for himself and his family. This was in spite of the fact that he had made more than £500,000 profit from selling the investment properties over the previous nine years.
The property sales will now be subject to a Capital Gains Assessment and confiscation proceedings to recover the proceeds of his crime will follow.
David Margree, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, commented: “Farid deliberately abused a system designed to provide financial help to the most vulnerable people in our society. Honest taxpayers and those in need of benefits often don’t have the opportunity to own one property, but Farid profited from the sale of eight. He knew what he was doing was wrong but had no intention of playing by the rules, thinking he could hide his crime by using his wife’s name as a smokescreen. But he was wrong and now is paying the price for his dishonesty with a jail sentence.
“If you know of anyone who is committing tax fraud please contact our 24 hour Hotline on 0800 59 5000 and help us stamp it out.”
In summing up the Recorder, Mr V Robinson QC, said: “In spite of Mr Farid’s early guilty plea, he had made a serious financial gain and sending him to prison may send a clear message to others considering benefit fraud in the future.”