South African fraudster must pay £250k

A South African convicted of defrauding HM Revenue and Customs has been ordered to pay £249,999 or face 16 months in prison.

Lawrence Goldberg, 48, pleaded guilty last year to a tax scam worth £1.1 million and spent a year behind bars. The Crown Prosecution Service then proceeded to try to recover assets Goldberg claimed he did not have.

Goldberg said that the proceeds from his criminal activities, which allowed him to lead a lifestyle the CPS valued at £1.5 million, were spent on a long-term drug habit and payments to employees.

In 2007 Goldberg left the UK after tax investigators closed in on what was later described as “fraud against public funds on a huge scale”.

In South Africa he was arrested on allegations of defrauding a bank but acquitted after spending three years before trial in jail. There he experienced what British prosecutors have acknowledged was “inhuman treatment” from fellow-prisoners.

According to the Johannesburg Saturday Star, Goldberg lost half his teeth and suffered rectal injuries from attempted rape with a broomstick.

After his acquittal, he was extradited to the UK to face charges of tax fraud. He received a four-year sentence, reduced to two because of his time in prison in South Africa, and released after serving six months, on top of the six months he had previously spent on remand.

At a confiscation hearing in London’s Central Criminal Court that concluded on Tuesday, Goldberg was ordered to pay or if he did not, the default was 16 months in prison. He was also disqualified from being a company director for six years.

Last updated: 2:20pm, December 21 2012