Fashion designer jailed after £200,000 tax fraud and money laundering scam that lasted seven years

A fashion designer has been put behind bars for a £200,000 tax fraud and money laundering scam.

Tuesday, 1st October 2019, 2:53 pm
Updated Tuesday, 1st October 2019, 4:53 pm
Newcastle Crown Court.

Uwe Doering, who designs and sells clothing through this firm Uwe Raw Cotton and rents out seven properties, which were purchased with the help of his criminal activity, failed to declare his true earnings over a seven year period.

As a result, the 52-year-old, whose clothing features at shows and exhibitions across the UK, pocketed over £114,665 that should have been handed over to the taxman and laundered over £85,334 through the property market.

At Newcastle Crown Court Doering, of Cleadon Lane, Cleadon, admitted two charges of cheating Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, one offence of being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of income tax and one of transferring criminal property.

Judge Penny Moreland sentenced him to a total of 29 months behind bars.

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The judge told him: "Your fraudulent behaviour occurred over a period of seven years, during which time you provided dishonest self-assessment forms in respect of income tax and company accounts which you knew did not represent the true position."

Prosecutor Sue Hirst told the court Doering's dishonesty was discovered when officers from HM Revenue and Customs began an investigation into his firm Laundrylines Ltd, which trades as Uwe Raw Cotton.

Miss Hirst added: "In summary, the defendant dishonestly failed to register the business for VAT and consequently defrauded the public purse in respect of that.

"He did not pay Corporation Tax because he had failed to provide his accountant with accurate figures about the true profits of the business.

"In relation to personal income tax, he submitted dishonest self-assessment tax returns each year for six years, significantly under-declaring his income."

The court heard the Doering's clothing company had paid just £479 in tax between 2010 and 2016 and was not registered for VAT.

He claimed to use one bank account for the firm, which had processed £466,671 in customer card sales between February 2011 and April 2017.

But investigators revealed he had another account, which had processed a further £441,849 over a similar period.

Miss Hirst told the court: "In addition to the failure to pay VAT, the defendant should also have paid 20% corporation tax on the profits of the company. The remainder would then have formed part of his personal income and would have been relevant to the amount of income tax he had to pay."

The court heard Doering used cash towards the purchase or conveyancing fees for his seven rental properties, which were in Sunderland and South Tyneside.

Miss Hirst said he did not declare the full amount of rental income which was generated from the properties.

Toby Hedworth QC, defending, said Doering, who is from East Germany, met his wife in Tenerife in the late 1980s and they settled in the UK in the 1990s.

Mr Heworth said the family's main was from the property market and that Doering set up Uwe Raw Cotton in 2002, making clothing that has featured in shows and exhibitions around the UK.

He said the clothing company has "not been a great money spinner" and that Doering sleeps in his van at shows rather than spend money on accommodation.

Mr Hedworth said Doering has £200,000, which he raised through selling and remortgaging property, in a bank ready to pay back to the authorities, which he had offered from the outset, in a bid to stop the criminal proceedings.

He added: "From the word go he accepted he has not been paying as much tax as he should have.

"This was effectively a one-man-band business that reached the point where the tax that should have been paid was not being paid."