Farnham restaurant owner must pay £1.2m or face 7 years in prison

Farnham restaurant owner must pay £1.2m or face 7 years in prison Credit: HMRC

A Farnham restaurant owner who laundered cash stolen by his VAT fraudster wife has been ordered to hand over £1.2 million within three months or face an extra seven-and-a-half years in jail.

52-year-old Yong Hong Lu was jailed for 2 years last May after an HMRC investigation found more than £1 million was laundered at Bon East Chinese restaurant.

His wife, Huey Jun Khoo, and business partner, Jing Fu, were sentenced for VAT fraud after they used an off-the-books card machine at the restaurant to pocket £180,000 in VAT.

Mr Lu's wife, Huey Jun Khoo, was sentenced for VAT fraud in May 2019. Credit: HMRC

The VAT fraud and money laundering was discovered after a surprise visit from HMRC at the Bon East Chinese restaurant in 2015.

Officers found two card reading machines – one linked to a business bank account and the other to a bank account which Khoo had opened in the name of one of the restaurant’s chefs.

Mr Lu and Mrs Khoo used the stolen money to pay for school fees, designer clothes and holidays.

After a hearing at Southwark Crown Court earlier this month, Mr Lu must pay £1.2m within three months or face seven-and-a-half years longer in jail.

His wife has been ordered to pay £15,000 within three months.

If she fails to do so, Mrs Khoo will be jailed for nine months and will still owe the money.

Our work doesn’t stop when someone is convicted, we will always seek to reclaim criminal money and assets. Confiscated proceeds of crime are redistributed into the public purse which helps fund vital services such as schools and hospitals. If you know anyone who is committing tax fraud or laundering money, you can report them to HMRC on gov.uk or call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887

Nicola Dunk Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC