Fiddler on the roof brought down to earth with a slam

A self-employed roofer from Kent has been jailed for 20 months for stealing £88,000 through VAT fraud and evading more than £14,000 in tax owed, in a case brought by HMRC.

Trading as M R Roofing, Cakebread, 56, pictured left, of Wateringbury, near Maidstone, specialised in working on historic buildings such as universities and courts.

The VAT fraud was not a sophisticated system, consisting simply of charging VAT to clients using a VAT number that had been de-registered in 2009.

He billed one client alone almost £52,00 for VAT on a total of 60 invoices but did not forward any of the sums to HMRC.

He also failed to declare his earnings, leading to a charge of evading tax to the tune of £14,237.

Cakebread pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of VAT and cheating the public revenue at Maidstone Crown Court in August 2017.

He returned to court on 18 October, where he was jailed for 20 months.

Sentencing Cakebread, Judge Adele Williams, said: “The fraud was deliberate and driven by a failure to manage money.”

Mark Cox, assistant director of the Fraud Investigation Service, said: “HMRC will continue to pursue criminals like Richard Cakebread who attack the tax system.

“It is simply not acceptable to charge VAT to your clients, but pocket the money. It is theft from honest businesses and taxpayers, and also steals funds from the public services we all rely on.”

HMRC will look to pursue recovery of the proceeds of crime.

Eugene Costello
Eugene Costello has been a journalist for some 20 years, and has written for a wide variety of UK and international newspapers and magazines.

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