Wembley businessman addicted to gambling jailed for £300k tax fraud
- Credit: Archant
A businessman from Wembley who duped the taxman out of more than £300,000 to feed his addiction to online betting on horseraces has been jailed for three years.
Neil Lesfrance, 50, of Barnhill Road, falsely claimed VAT repayments to his internet technology company for more than two years using bogus invoices.
The Old Bailey heard he backed up the fraud by boasting of having £2million in the bank and a property portfolio raking in £9,000 a month.
Lesfrance set up his company Paramount Enterprises in 2008 and advertised himself on the Linkedin website as an expert in SEO, Video Marketing and Reputation management.
He submitted eight false VAT repayment returns totalling £346,533 and received a total of £300,000 from HMRC.
He also claimed he had licences with Microsoft, Samsung and Cisco and had set up his firm with the profits he made selling two of his nine properties.
But when inspectors from HMRC asked to see his paperwork he claimed that his house had been burgled of £1.5m of property.
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Lesfrance eventually came clean after the police were called in and discovered he was in fact heavily in debt.
Examination of his bank statements by police revealed he was overdrawn rather than £2m in credit as he claimed.
His barrister Nicola Howard said that Lesfrance continued to make bigger and bigger VAT claims in the hope of getting a big win on the horses using the Betfred online website.
She said: “Matters spiralled out of control and because of that gamblers mindset, having not gambled himself out of it he tried the same again.”
Lesfrance pleaded guilty to furnishing false CT documents between August 2008 and January 2012 and was jailed for three years last week.