A jailed Warrington takeaway owner, who lied about his sales to evade tax, must repay £245,000 or face another two years behind bars.
Mehmet Tekagac, the owner of Top Grill Kebab and Pizza House in Padgate, was jailed for 30 months for tax evasion after not declaring takings following an HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation.
At Liverpool Crown Court last week he was ordered to repay £245,105 within three months, or spend another two years in prison and still owe the money.
Mehmet claimed to earn just £9,000 a year but was hiding the takings from his shop to evade paying Corporation Tax and kept the VAT he charged customers. Mehmet also lied about how much he earned to claim Child Tax Credits as a low income family. He was jailed in September last year after admitting fraud.
The court heard how Mehmet sold land and buildings at Longbarn Local Centre in Padgate and his former takeaway, for £305,000, shortly before admitting his crimes. He also transferred a house in Warrington to his brother.
The court ruled Mehmet lived a criminal lifestyle with assets beyond any legitimate income he had and must pay more than the £179,000 he was convicted of stealing.
Debbie Porter, assistant director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Tekagac amassed a wealth of assets while claiming to earn just £9,000 a year from his business. His web of lies came crashing down and he faces even longer behind bars if he does not repay the money he stole.
“HMRC will continue to pursue criminals after conviction to seize their ill-gotten assets. We urge anyone with information about tax fraud to contact us online or to call 0800 788 887.”
Information about any type of tax fraud can be reported to HMRC online at www.gov.uk/report-an-unregistered-trader-or-business.