An antique dealer has been found guilty of £1.6m VAT fraud and has been given two four year sentences for two counts of cheating the Revenue contrary to common law; both sentences will run concurrently…

Johnathon Uri Shohet from Baldock, Hertfordshire, is forty-five years of age and owns two businesses: JTW Global Ltd and JUS Watches; based in Grays Antique market in London.

Shohet carried out VAT fraud by using stolen invoice books and creating fake invoices for the ‘imaginary’ purchase of expensive Cartier and Rolex watches, which enabled him to falsely claim over £1.6m in VAT repayments from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

VAT fraud suspicions first surfaced when HMRC checked Shohet’s business records and found large cash purchases to the sum of more than £80,000.

From conducting an HMRC investigation into the said purchases, HMRC uncovered that some of the transactions had never taken place between Mr. Shohet’s businesses and the well known companies that were noted to have sold the high value antique watches.

During HMRC raids of Mr. Shohet’s businesses in Grays Antique Market, London, a safe was seized containing illegal invoice books from watch retailers, which were forensically analysed to identify Mr. Shohet’s fingerprints; Four laptops, two iPads and over 60 bags of documents were also seized during raids of Shohet’s home and business premises.

VAT fraud committed by Mr. Shohet totalled £1,670,214.

HMRC’s Assistant Director for Criminal Investigations, Martin Brown, said:

“We want to make it clear to people who think that it is acceptable to defraud the tax system that tax fraud is a serious criminal offence. Shohet tried to play the system so that he could fund a lavish lifestyle. He made great efforts to hide his crime, but despite his best efforts our investigators were able to unravel his scam.”

Johnathon Uri Shohet was arrested at Heathrow airport on 4 October 2011 on his arrival to the UK from Dubai. At the time of his arrest Shohet was carrying £17,000 cash on him.

Shohet later admitted to HMRC that he had built up large debts through his attempt to maintain a lavish lifestyle and bad business decisions.

On 24 April Mr. Shohet was sentenced by Southwark Crown Court with two four year charges for cheating the public Revenue contrary to common law. The two charges are to run concurrently.

Could you be under suspicion of VAT fraud from HMRC? Or have you already received a VAT fraudenquiry letter?

KinsellaTax staff consist of ex-HM Inspector of Taxes and ex-HM Custom and Excise Officers, fully trained in all types of HMRC investigations.

If you would like to discuss a VAT fraud enquiry in confidence you can speak with one of our professional tax investigation advisors on 0800 471 4546, alternatively you can send us your tax enquiry.

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