A man who became famous for double-glazing TV adverts has been ordered to pay £53,000 or face jail.
Jeff Brown earned nearly £350,000 over a six-year period working as a contractor for double glazing company Safestyle UK and as a match day host at Burnley FC, however failed to file any tax returns.
The Observer revealed in May how Brown, 51, pleaded guilty to six counts of being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of income tax and was given a 20 month prison sentence suspended for two years.
Appearing again at Burnley Crown Court this week for a Proceeds of Crime hearing, Brown has now been ordered to pay a £53,498 confiscation order within the next three months or face 12 months in jail.
Jeremy Lasker, prosecuting, told the court: “There’s no doubt this defendant lived his life with cash. That was one of the problems.
“We have had to arrive at an appropriate benefit figure arising out of the defendants pleas to these offences.
“Initially the Crown were prepared to give to the defendant the benefit of 10 per cent worth of deductible expenses. The defence position was around about 30 per cent. We have come to a compromise.
“The figure was £50,000 to which we have added a figure for the notional change of value since then, that’s £3,498, which brings the total benefit figure to £53,498. The realisable assets more than exceed that.”
Mr Lasker told they court that they ‘understand’ that HMRC do not intend to pursue a tax assessment against Brown for the lost tax.
Timothy Brennand, defending, said Brown, of Prairie Crescent, Burnley, has ‘now got his finances in order’ by employing an accountant and a book keeper.
Recorder Mark Brown said it is an ‘eminently appropriate resolution of this particular case’.
Officers from HMRC raided Brown’s home in February last year and found ‘bundles of cash’ of up to £15,000 hidden inside a bedroom wardrobe, an earlier hearing was told.
The court had heard that Brown had no employment contract with Safestyle but was given commission payments of £333,179 for canvassing and motivational work.
He was also paid nearly £11,000 for freelance work at Burnley FC as a match day room host and was paid either cash or cheque for 110 home matches.
Speaking after the case, Zoe Ellerbeck, from the HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, said: “This is a case of a well-known local personality and TV character flaunting the law as if it didn’t apply to him.
"Brown had submitted tax returns in the past and therefore was well aware of his tax obligations. This was deliberate theft from taxpayers by Brown. We are determined to recover stolen tax from criminals who deprive the UK of vital funds.
“Deliberately evading tax in this way is insulting to the honest taxpayers but HMRC is determined to clamp down on financial crime and Brown is now repaying the proceeds of his criminal behaviour.
"If you know of anyone who is committing tax fraud you can report them by calling our 24-hour hotline on 0800 59 5000.”