A Sheffield man who pocketed an extra £1.1m in tax he should have paid for profits from his used car business, has been let off with 300 hours of unpaid work and a curfew.
Despite the sentencing guidelines for the fraudulent evasion of tax for an amount of £1.1million ranging from between five to eight years in prison, Recorder Anthony Kelbrick handed Glenville Hill, of Spout House Cottage, Wortley a sentence of 300 hours of unpaid work at Sheffield Crown Court on Friday.
The court was told how Hill turned the driveway of his rural farmhouse in Wortley into a makeshift forecourt, selling more than 1,300 cars worth £8.5m over nine years, between December 2004 and April 2013.
The 55-year-old failed to register his business, which originally traded as Spout House Motors before changing its name to Deutschtek, with HMRC, and pocketed the £1.1m he should have paid in tax, National Insurance and VAT.
Prosecutor Nicola Quinney told Sheffield Crown Court how Hill's tax evasion only came to light in April 2013 when the businessman approached an accountant and asked him to help him to get his tax affairs in order.
Around the same time Hill registered the company with Trading House with the name Deutschtek Ltd.
Ms Quinney said: "An investigation was launched into his trading activities in July 2013. He said he hadn't been involved in the motor trade until he registered as Deutschtek in April 2013.
"He had been trading as Spout House Motors for a number of years, and had been trading with British Car Auctions since April 2005.
"From January 2003 to March 2013 their records show he purchased 1,384 vehicles and made just over £8.5million.
"From those accounts HMRC were able to calculate how much tax had been evaded."
Defending Hill, Andrew Smith told the court his client had shown a great deal of remorse for his actions, and contacted an accountant because he wanted to face up to what he had done.
"Mr Hill acknowledges and accepts that his evasion of these taxes amounts to to serious criminal conduct," said Mr Smith,
He added: "The ongoing impact that the consequences of Mr Hill's offending has had on his family life and his mental health has been significant.
"Mr Hill's priority for many years has been his family, and the desire to protect his children from the consequences of his actions.
"In his psychiatric report Mr Hill demonstrated feelings of uselessness and worthlessness.
"There have been serious attempts by Mr Hill to take his own life."
Sentencing Hill, Recorder Kelbrick told Hill: "You must have known you were required to pay tax, and that there was a requirement to register for VAT.
"I have listened to all that has been said and written about you, and it seems to me that although your level of offending was despicable; your personal situation is such that it may be right for the court to take an exceptional course of action.
"That exceptional course will be to make you the subject of a community order. There will be some who think it is lenient and wrong but a community order, if you breach it, you will be brought back before the court and be re-sentenced and may receive five years in prison."
Hill, who admitted to the offences at an earlier hearing, was handed a six month curfew in addition to being made the subject of a community order and 300 hours of unpaid work.
A Proceeds Of Crime Act hearing to claim back the tax Hill fraudulently pocketed will be held later this year on August 9.