Restaurant fraudster told to pay £1.2 million or stay in jail

By Daniel Gee   |   Head of Content   |
Saturday 3rd October 2020 9:15 am
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Yong Hong Lu was convicted of money laundering on March 20, 2019, and sentenced to two years in jail on May 10, 2019

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A FARNHAM restaurant owner who laundered cash stolen by his VAT fraudster wife has been ordered to hand over £1.2 million within three months or face an extra seven-and-a-half years in jail.

Yong Hong Lu, 52, was jailed for two years last May after a HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation found he had laundered more than £1m.

His wife Huey Jun Khoo, 51, and business partner Jing Fu, 50, of Crondall, Hampshire, were sentenced for VAT fraud in May 2019, after they used an off-the-books card machine at the Bon East Chinese restaurant in Farnham to pocket £180,000 in VAT.

Lu and Khoo used the stolen money from their four-year fraud to pay for school fees, designer clothes and holidays.

Lu was jailed for two years, Khoo was jailed for three years and nine months, and Fu was sentenced to seven months imprisonment, suspended for two years.

All three have now been ordered to pay back money at a confiscation hearing at Southwark Crown Court earlier this month.

Lu must pay £1.2m within three months or face seven-and-a-half years longer in jail.

Fu has three months to pay £50,000 and Khoo has to repay £15,000 within three months. If they fail don’t, they will be jailed for nine months and still owe the money.

The VAT fraud and money laundering was discovered after a surprise visit from HMRC at the Bon East Chinese restaurant in 2015.

Officers found two card reading machines – one linked to a business bank account and the other to a bank account which Khoo had opened in the name of one of the restaurant’s chefs.

Customer payments made into the ‘chef’ account were never declared to HMRC, to evade paying VAT.

After the HMRC visit, Khoo and Fu destroyed the business records in a failed bid to hide their crimes.

Two documents that Khoo kept were later discovered, along with £12,00 in cash found in a wardrobe, when the couple’s home was searched.

Khoo admitted evading VAT, money laundering and perverting the course of justice.

Fu, admitted money laundering and perverting the course of justice.

Lu was convicted of money laundering after a trial at Southwark Crown Court.

Nicola Dunk, assistant director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Our work doesn’t stop when someone is convicted, we will always seek to reclaim criminal money and assets.

“Confiscated proceeds of crime go into the public purse which helps fund vital services such as schools and hospitals.

“If you know anyone who is committing tax fraud or laundering money, contact HMRC on gov.uk or call our hotline on 0800 788 887.”

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