Town councillor on £240k fraud charge

Court snatch: Pontefract magistrates court. Hemsworth town councillor Mr John Richardson, appearing before the court on a number of charges relating to counterfeit goods.'h7096a148
Court snatch: Pontefract magistrates court. Hemsworth town councillor Mr John Richardson, appearing before the court on a number of charges relating to counterfeit goods.'h7096a148

A HEMSWORTH Town councillor has been charged with swindling the tax system out of almost a quarter of a million pounds by illegally selling duty-free and fake cigarettes and duty-free alcohol.

John Richardson, 70, of Newall Crescent, Fitzwilliam, appeared at Pontefract Magistrates’ Court on Monday on ten charges relating to fraudulent evasion of duty and trademark offences.

The alleged offences include:

l The possession or use of criminal property, namely £127,880

l Concealing, transferring or removing criminal property, namely £67,000 by buying a house on Central Avenue, Wakefield

l Concealing, transferring or removing criminal property, namely £40,000 by buying a house on Chantry Croft, Kinsley

l Possession or use of criminal property, namely £5,855

l Fraud by failing to disclose information to Revenue and Customs about income from rental properties

l The possession of Lambert and Butler cigarettes bearing a false trademark

l Possession of Superkings cigarettes bearing a false trademark

l Fraudulent evasion of duty on 11 litres of spirits

l Fraudulent evasion of duty on 6,120 cigarettes

l Fraudulent evasion of duty on 15.4kg of tobacco

Richardson’s solicitor Peter Byrne indicated that Richardson would be pleading not guilty to all charges.

The prosecution alleges that Richardson’s illegal operation was run from his bookmaker’s business, Richardson Racing, on Wakefield Road, Fitzwilliam.

Deputy district judge Nick Hayles adjourned the case until Monday, January 23, when it will be committed to crown court for trial. Richardson was released on unconditional bail until his next appearance.