Gidea Park tax scam fugitive caught and jailed

A Gidea Park salon owner, who went on the run leaving his daughter to face sentencing alone for a huge tax fraud, has been caught and jailed.

John Littleboy, 63, and his daughter Katy Littleboy, 35 - who ran two hairdressing salons, both called Head Candi, from premises in Brentwood Road, Gidea Park, and Chafford Hundred, in Grays, Essex - swindled more than �147,000.

Littleboy, was the main organiser of the fraud and, together with Katy, stole the identity of a legitimate businessman to submit bogus claims for refunds of VAT for their hairdressing business.

They also pocketed Pay As You Earn (PAYE) contributions from their employees.

According to the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), his Honour Judge Owen-Jones said at Basildon Crown Court: “This was a skilful, scheming, well-planned and determined operation to claim large repayments of VAT by creating invoices to defraud HMRC. This impacts on every member of the general public.”

John Littleboy, of Marine Parade, Southend-on-Sea, absconded before sentencing but was arrested on Monday by HMRC.

He was sentenced to two years in prison in his absence on December 11.

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Katy, of Fleetwood Avenue, Westcliff, Southend-on-Sea, pleaded guilty to six counts of fraud and was sentenced at Basildon Crown Court on November 22 to 12 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years.

She was also made the subject of a 12-month supervision order.

Littleboy pleaded guilty to eight counts of fraud. He failed to appear before and was sentenced in his absence to two years in prison for each count, to be served concurrently.

Peter Millroy, assistant director of HMRC Criminal Investigation, said: “John Littleboy tried to avoid his punishment by absconding, but he has been caught.

“He organised a catalogue of criminal activity along with his daughter, Katy Littleboy. Not only did they steal from their employees but also used the identity of an innocent businessman to commit a sophisticated tax fraud purely for their own greed.

“Stealing over �147,000 in tax destined to pay for public services is not acceptable.”