Butcher jailed over £3.3m accounting scam

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A butcher who was found guilty of spending £3.3m of taxpayers’ money on a luxury lifestyle has been jailed following an HMRC investigation.

Gary Turner was sentenced at Leeds Crown Court to five years in prison and assets of £785,000 have already been restrained by HMRC, with confiscation proceedings underway to recover more of his criminal profits.

Turner owned concessions of Turner’s Butchers in local branches of Kwik Save, but when his business experienced a downturn in 1996 he started to siphon off taxpayers’ money.

His criminal activities funded a luxury family home, a bungalow for his son, expensive holidays, six high performance cars with private number plates, Fender guitars and Rolex watches worth more than £35,000.

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About Robert Lovell

Business and finance journalist


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    16th Mar 2012 16:57

    Let's do some maths

    £3.3m In fraudulent VAT reclaims, say each was at the maximum quoted  here - £46,000 - that's seventy one vat returns before anyone spotted that maybe something was wrong?

    Maybe his returns didn't 'meat' their criteria even though he was telling porkies....


    Thanks (1)
    to Vaughan Blake1
    17th Mar 2012 00:27


    memyself-eye wrote:

    £3.3m In fraudulent VAT reclaims, say each was at the maximum quoted  here - £46,000 - that's seventy one vat returns before anyone spotted that maybe something was wrong?

    Maybe his returns didn't 'meat' their criteria even though he was telling porkies....


    That's offal

    Thanks (0)
    19th Mar 2012 09:48

    £3.3m that's not a poultry amount.

    He wasn't such a cleaver man as he thought.

    It is worrying though that this went on so long without being spitted.

    I like the way the judge said that this money would have gone to the NHS. It seems all tax fraud money would have gone to the NHS. More like NWS (national waste service).

    Thanks (1)
    to Euan MacLennan
    26th Mar 2012 15:25

    So you dont use the NHS then?

    Thanks (1)
    to fawltybasil2575
    26th Mar 2012 15:44


    Roland St Clere-Smithe wrote:

    So you dont use the NHS then?

    I think the point was that they can't collect enough and what they do will be wasted as fast as possible.

    Spending a lot of money on something does not make it better, especially when there is no competition.

    Hospitals should be privatised and we should all take out private health care.

    The poorest could have their basic subscription paid for by the state.

    It is a joke.....my alcoholic neighbour has her own , helicopter , ambulance , 3 Squad cars , health visitors and a whole host of support services that appear every time she falls over. On top of her free house and drinks bill.

    If someone was paying for this it would not happen and she might even stand a chance.

    And you then want people (who are actually working) to pay more tax to fund a completely useless whinging public sector.

    UK Plc is broken in more than one place !

    Thanks (0)
    26th Mar 2012 11:25

    Proceeds of crime

    I think they just add up all of the money paid in your bank account from the vat claim or customers over the prior 6 years and say the whole lot is proceeds of crime, whether it is or not. Its sort of akin to dropping dye in water once its tainted they want it all, not just the dye.

    The moral of the tale is dont be naughty or you'll get the chop...


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    By scopad
    26th Mar 2012 12:14

    HMRC have had a right beef with him, he was like a lamb to slaughter

    "who says accountants dont have a sense of humour"

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    26th Mar 2012 13:02

    just shows

    How easy it is,

    especially when you don't have an accountant.

    Caught by random chance ?

    No mistresses this time ?

    Thanks (0)
    26th Mar 2012 16:03

    Private health care as in the US you mean? We all know where that will lead.

    The poorest and the sickest will end up in the worst hospitals with the worst care just like the US.

    Your neighbour is an exception even if its true. You should write for the Daily Mail !

    A civililsed caring society should pay for care for the least well off and least healthy ... even if there are cases where it seems that some one gets a lot of help when its not deserved.

    What will you propose next? No one over 80 years old to receive health care?

    Or a means test first to see if they are deserving.



    Thanks (1)
    to lionofludesch
    26th Mar 2012 16:27

    over 80 ?

    Roland St Clere-Smithe wrote:

    What will you propose next? No one over 80 years old to receive health care?

    No but if the premiums were higher if you were at risk then there would be a lot less fat people and a lot fewer smokers.

    Thus reducing the cost of the NHS instead of the NHS refusing to treat you if you are fat or a smoker.

    The neighbour is true, police enquiries were made at the weekend about about a motorcycle backfiring because she reported someone was trying to kill her.

    You do not have to follow a US model.

    Our taxes would be lower and we would all have more money.....perhaps if the average Joe could see he could do well by legitimate means then crime would decrease as well.

    We have created our own society it didn't happen because of greedy bankers alone or daily mail reporters.

    Thanks (0)
    26th Mar 2012 16:11

    Works if you have the nerve

    He got five years (probably only serve 2) and lost what he had already lost in 1996, but in the meantime had a fantastic life for 17+ years.

    Could this even be in an open prison ?

    I will perhaps never get to own a Ferrari.

    Who's the MUG ?

    When he gets out the system will allow him to do the same again.

    and has to be more profitable than robbing a bank and more traditional methods of armed robbery.

    HMRC are convinced that any one can do this and even encourage it.


    Thanks (0)
    26th Mar 2012 16:49

    I have

    to blame the Tories for getting rid of Maggie. If she had been supported through the poll tax riots (looting, criminal damage etc. normal crap) we wouldn't have so much binge or weed culture. As for the NHS it needs both public and private money to survive. Private health clinics (other than cosmetic) should be incorporated within hospitals and have a 24hour service. Our basic health contribution is supposed to come from our ees nic and ers nic but there is certainly a need for further subscriptions.

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    26th Mar 2012 17:34

    Rabble-Rousing Emotive Claptrap

    "A butcher who was found guilty of spending £3.3m of taxpayers’ money"....

    ..."the NHS has been deprived also – the money could have been spent by the NHS".

    We have a butcher client who won't pay our accounts prep fees. Should I report him for depriving the NHS of £200 VAT and £200 corporation tax?

    Other clients run a lucrative PPP outsoucre company, and the NHS toss them £millions each year. Might they be the taxpayers who are being deprived?


    Thanks (0)
    By ds
    26th Mar 2012 21:20

    You couldn't make it up

    funny that it took so long the detectives in HMRC to discover this scam, it seems in UK you get rewarded for playing the system and not complying with it.

    silly old judge, does he not read the papers or even be slightly aware of the wholesale greed and corruption endemic in Briitish public and private life ?

    there's a lesson to be learnt from this story and it was only greed that caught the butcher out, that and not covering his tracks.


    Thanks (0)
    27th Mar 2012 13:57


    I cant understand why Black knight thinks he will never own a Ferrari, surely as an accountant on here it comes with the territory....


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    27th Mar 2012 14:51

    Off piste about Ferraris

    There is a roundabout in St Tropez and another in St Maxims roughly 16 miles apart slong the coast. You can hire a Ferrari to travel the distance (about an hour in peak times) and at the other end the salesman either drives the car back or another punter drives back. Between these roundabouts you can't do much more than 15 miles an hour. Cost, £1000 per hour. Posing, priceless. So Black Knight you know where to book your hols this year.

    Thanks (0)
    27th Mar 2012 15:00


    It would make me cry to drive a Ferrari in a health and safety environment.

    I have a more extreme view of motoring ! "Drive it like you stole it!"

    Thanks (0)
    27th Mar 2012 15:08

    So you're a bit of a

    Statham and diesel fan.

    I've always thought Clarkson's got the best job in the world except for Cof E of course.

    Thanks (0)