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Straight to jail for fugitive tax fraudster caught in Spain

A runaway tax fraudster is starting a six year jail sentence, after being extradited back to the UK from Spain by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for failing to repay £1.5 million.

South African Leib Berger, 53, previously known as Lawrence Goldberg, was originally jailed for two years in September 2011 for stealing more than £1 million through a Self Assessment tax fraud. Posing as a nominated tax agent, he hijacked innocent people’s identities and invented other clients to send fraudulent tax returns to HMRC.

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Lawrence Goldberg – photo www.thejc.com

In December 2012, he was ordered to repay £249,999 by December 2013 or receive a default prison sentence of 16 months. In an attempt to escape justice Berger fled to Spain. While he was at large, investigations by HMRC revealed he had further assets and in September 2015 the confiscation order was increased to £1.5 million. A month later the default prison sentence was amended to six years.

Berger was tracked down and arrested in Spain on 7 February 2017. He was extradited back to the UK on Tuesday 21 February 2017.