SA man jailed for R58m UK fraud

2011-09-17 09:45
Johannesburg - A South African man who attempted to defraud British tax authorities of almost R58m was sentenced to four years in prison by the Central Criminal Court in London, according to a report on Saturday.

Lawrence Goldberg, 47, from Johannesburg, pleaded guilty to registering more than 50 false companies as nominated tax agents, the Saturday Star reported.

He submitted thousands of fraudulent tax returns from the mid-2000s using both fictitious identities and those of innocent people.
Cheques sent by the government to the false tax agents for clients, were instead pocketed by Goldberg and transferred to offshore accounts.

The newspaper reported that Goldberg fled England for Portugal in 2007 after being discovered, but continued operations before returning to South Africa.

He and his wife were arrested by local officials for bank fraud and kept in custody until February, when they were released. Days later, British authorities requested their arrest and they were extradited. Charges were dropped, but Goldberg this week admitted to the crimes.

He received a four-year sentence, suspended for two years because of the length of time spent in custody in South Africa.

An unnamed spokesperson for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs said investigators were attempting to track the stolen money. It was unclear whether Goldberg would be deported after completing his sentence.

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