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Brentwood siblings jailed for £350,000 tax cheat

PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 May 2014 | UPDATED: 09:37 19 May 2014

Barbados. Picture: PA/Rui Vieira

Barbados. Picture: PA/Rui Vieira

PA Archive/Press Association Images

A brother and sister from Brentwood who cheated the taxman out of £350,000 and blew the cash on a holiday in the Caribbean have each been jailed for 18 months.

Matthew, 29, and Rebecca Kania, 31, splashed out on a lavish break in Barbados while wining and dining clients at top restaurants.

They were directors of Embassy Scaffolding Services but set up “buffer companies” so they could take staff off the payroll and pocketed income tax and national insurance contributions.

Between September 2008 and June 2013 the Kanias made hundreds of thousands of pounds from 25 employees who thought they were paying their taxes to HMRC but were in fact lining their employers’ pockets.

Judge Nicholas Huskinson, sentencing at Snaresbrook Crown Court, told the pair: “I have thought very hard about whether this can be suspended but in my judgement this was a serious fraud carried out over a long time and a large amount of money was taken.

“I would be failing in my public duty if I did not send you immediately to custody.”

Relatives of the family were horrified to see the pair, who had been embracing throughout the hearing, be sentenced to prison.

Rebecca Kania, of Ongar Road, sobbed as she was led to the cells while her brother, of Queens Road, said tearfully: “I love you mum.”

Christopher Gillespie, defending the Kania’s, said: ‘It is accepted that some of the money went on high living but mainly for the benefit of Matthew rather than Rebecca.

“I would submit their lifestyle was improved rather than lavish.”

The pair pleaded guilty to a single count of cheating the public revenue.

Read more:

Couple in their 70s guilty of £140,000 benefit fraud including claim in Brentwood

Brentwood benefits cheat must return taxpayers money

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