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Lanarkshire couple funded luxury holidays to Cayman Islands and Las Vegas and drove Range Rovers after dodging almost £1m in tax

By David Meikle From The Scottish Sun

TAX DODGERS JAILED -Michael Howard, 44 and his wife Donna, 43, ran a security systems business and enjoyed a multi-million pound turnover

A COUPLE who funded their extravagant lifestyle by dodging almost £1million in payments to the taxman have been jailed.

Michael Howard, 44 and his wife Donna, 43, ran a security systems business and enjoyed a multi-million pound turnover.

They operated their firm MDH Ltd from their luxury £400,000 home in Motherwell, Lanarkshire, and splurged thousands of pounds on a globetrotting, no-expense spared lifestyle.

However a probe was launched after one of their workers discovered HMRC had no record of him paying tax or national insurance.

The investigation discovered the company had failed to pay almost £850,000 in tax over a three year period.

The Howards, who have now divorced, were charged with failing to pay a massive £531,400.01 in VAT, £150,892.61 in income tax and £162,731.47 in National Insurance between February 2010 and December 2013.

Donna Howard was convicted of all charges while her husband was convicted of failing to pay VAT.

She has now been jailed at Hamilton Sheriff Court for three years and nine months while her ex-husband has been locked up for three years.

The Howards’ trial heard they flew on luxury trips to the Cayman Islands, Mexico and stayed in the plush Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

They had two expensive Range Rovers and bought a top of the range Aston Martin which brazen Michael described as his ‘weekend car’.

Their home also boasted a sauna, gym, private bar, games room, a garden clubhouse, six bathrooms and 13 flat screen televisions.

Both of their sons, now aged 21 and 19, were sent to private schools.

Advocate Owen Mullan, defending Michael Howard, said: “His reputation he been irreparably damaged and in the close knit industry in which he is involved he is unlikely to make a living the same way that he does for the last 20 years.

“All of his assets will now be subject to proceedings.”

He added: “He has never received a custodial sentence and is aware that will be at the forefront of the court’s mind.

“The fraud itself could hardly be described as complex but the work was being carried out by MDH properly and to a very high standard but the VAT was not being paid.

“I would ask a short term custodial sentence be imposed because it is not a complicated fraud and only the Revenue was being denied money.”


Michael and Donna Howard on holiday before they were caught

Their house was complete with a gym, sauna and games room PRESSTEAM

Pair led the life of luxury after tax dodge PRESSTEAM

Michael Howard lounges in the sun during Dubai trip PRESSTEAM

Donna in luxury holiday pad PRESSTEAM

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