Three members of the same family were jailed for a total of seven and a half years on Friday following an investigation by HM Revenue & Customs into tax fraud. A fourth family member received a suspended prison sentence.
Amarjit Singh Sidhu, Balwant Kaur Sidhu, Surjit Singh Dhindsa, and Rajinder Singh Bhattle failed to pay a total of £771,000 in income tax, National Insurance and VAT.
Amarjit was the company director of Multiple Construction Ltd, a labour supply business based in Slough. His company supplied labour to a number of construction companies based in London, whose contracts involved the construction of Wembley Stadium, Canary Wharf and White City. His wife Balwant was the company secretary.
In April 2004, the family set up a sham company run by Surjit and Rajinder - Tempaid Ltd - to evade tax and reduce the VAT liability of Multiple Construction.
The family effectively used Tempaid as a hidden bank account to under-declare the profits of Multiple Construction. Multiple Construction would issue cheques to pay false invoices sent by Tempaid. The funds were then withdrawn and used to pay employee wages in cash.
Amarjit and Balwant used the money from the fraud to fund an extravagant lifestyle. This included the purchase of 'Millstones', the family home, which cost over £1 million, along with other properties, which were let to tenants.
Both companies went into liquidation in 2005. Following his arrest in 2006, Amarjit immediately re-mortgaged some of his properties, removing equity of £800,000, which he transferred to India.
A jury at Reading Crown Court found Amarjit, Balwant, and Surjit guilty of cheating the public revenue; while Rajinder pleaded guilty to the same offence last year.
- Amarjit received a four and a half year sentence and was disqualified from
being a company director for ten years.
- Surjit was jailed for 20 months and disqualified from being a company
director for five years.
- Rajinder was jailed for 16 months and disqualified from being a company
director for five years.
- Balwant was given a 12 month sentence, suspended for 12 months, and disqualified from being a company director for five years.
Andrew Pavlinic, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation for HMRC said:
"These people have not only evaded paying taxes, robbing the public purse, but have also stolen from the pockets of their employees. We take a serious view of such conduct and will actively pursue those who commit such fraud to the full extent of the law. These sentences will serve as a deterrent to anyone considering committing tax fraud."