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Company directors sentenced for tax fraud

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TWO Carmarthenshire company directors, who stole more than £2.7 million through tax fraud and money laundering to fund their extravagant lifestyles, have been sentenced today after they were investigated by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Richard John Baylis Safadi, 47, from Carmarthen and Mandy Jayne Galinsky, 53, from Ammanford, who ran Penybanc Car Sales Limited and Ammanford Metal Recycling Limited, had tried to cover up the tax frauds by frequently changing the names, directorships and shareholders of their businesses. However, HMRC officers unravelled their lies and put an end to their theft from honest taxpayers and customers.

Investigators found that Safadi and Galinsky had ripped off customers by charging more than 1.6m in VAT, but had only passed £40,000 on to HMRC. The pair were also found to have pocketed more than £640,000 in Corporation Tax due on company profits.

Safadi failed to file a single tax return on his personal income, despite becoming a millionaire. He stole more than £280,000 in tax that should’ve been passed on to HMRC.

Galinsky, who claimed she had not earned a penny since 2009, had in fact earned over £500,000 and kept the £230,000 she should’ve paid in tax. Both were proven to have lied when investigators discovered profits from both companies going into their private bank accounts on a regular basis.

Colin Spinks, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Safadi and Galinsky stole an extraordinary amount of cash to fund lifestyles most people can only dream of. It was not only customers, who paid their tax in good faith, who were exploited. Between them, the pair took advantage of the tax system at every opportunity and stole money from where it was intended – funding vital public services. It’s only right that the money they stole is recovered.

“If you know of anyone who is evading tax please contact the Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887, and help us stamp out this crime.”

Investigators found that both Safadi and Galinsky enjoyed lavish lifestyles with all their personal expenses including holidays, credit card bills and loan agreements for their vehicles, paid out of company expenses. Both Safadi and Galinsky had rental properties, holiday homes in Kenya, which they had bought outright, and drove high-end cars including Range Rovers, Bentleys, a BMW and a Rolls Royce. In total they stole £2,786,374 in tax.

The pair were found guilty of failing to pay the correct tax for their used car dealership and scrap metal company, or pay the tax due on their personal income.

Richard Safadi was sentenced to 24 months, suspended for two years, and Mandy Galinsky was sentenced to 10 months, suspended for 18 months, at Swansea Crown Court today (Jul 5).

Richard Safadi has paid back £888,142.82 and confiscation proceedings to recover the proceeds of Mandy Galinsky’s crime will now follow.

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Man issued with two COVID-19 fines in 24 hours as police thank those following new legislation

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A man has been issued with two fines in 24 hours for flouting Coronavirus legislation, as police thank those who are following the new rules.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers in Carmarthenshire stopped the 22-year-old from Llanelli twice for being out of the house without a reasonable excuse.

A report was made on April 1 that three men were breaching the COVID-19 legislation by gathering in Llanstephan. A woman who had attempted to film the men reported that they had stolen her phone and driven away.

Officers quickly linked the car to a suspect and traced it driving towards Carmarthen and then Llanelli, and a roads policing unit was directed to the area.

The car was stopped, and the two occupants – a 22-year-old from Llanelli, and a 18-year-old from Carmarthen – were arrested on suspicion of theft. They were also both issued with tickets for COVID-19 offences.

T/Chief Inspector Tom Sharville said: “We are taking the new legislation seriously, and would like to thank the majority of people who are staying home to keep others safe.

“The measures are difficult to adapt to, but it is important that we stay at home to save lives.

“However, there is a minority out there who are under the impression the legislation does not apply to them, and are flouting the law.

“This was the second fine one of these men was issued with in 24 hours, after he showed a clear disregard for all guidelines.”

The men were arrested on suspicion of theft of a mobile phone, and were released under investigation pending further enquiries.

For information about the COVID-19 legislation, and answers to many frequently asked questions, visit https://bit.ly/DPPCovid19

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Housing support for residents

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SPECIALIST housing support and advice is available to residents in Carmarthenshire who are worried about the coronavirus crisis.

This is an extremely difficult time for residents, and we want to help as much as possible, whether you are a homeowner, a council tenant or a tenant in privately rented accommodation.

We can also help if you are currently homeless or ‘sofa-surfing’ between properties, or maybe you are a key worker and you can’t return home because someone vulnerable lives there.

Whatever your situation, our specialist advice team can provide you with a range of housing options to help you.

It is very important we stay at home at present, and we understand that this can difficult for some.

Please contact us for advice if you are:

• Currently homeless
• Sofa-surfing between different properties
• Can no longer remain at your current home
• Living in a private property and can’t pay the rent
• Having difficulties paying your mortgage
• Work for the NHS, social care or are a key worker that can’t return home because someone vulnerable lives there

Our housing advisors could help to resolve your current issues or find you somewhere temporary and safe to live.

We have already contacted a number of our tenants to see if we can help. If you are experiencing difficulties with your rent, please contact your housing officer directly so they can discuss with you what support is available. All of our officers can be reached by telephone and email.

We are working closely with a number of partner agencies such as Shelter Cymru and are also looking at what we, as a council, can put in place to help residents.

Executive Board Member for Housing Cllr Linda Evans said: “We know that this is a very worrying time for residents, especially when you have a home and family to look after and are concerned about making ends meet.

“However, I want to reassure you that we will do all we can to help you during this difficult time. Making sure that you feel secure in your home is very important.

“Our housing officers will provide as much support as they can and if our council tenants have any concerns about keeping up with payments, please get in touch so we can help explore all of the options available to you.

“I want to reassure our council tenants that they will not lose their home as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.”

Please call our housing advice team on 01554 899389, Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm, or email SCHOptions@carmarthenshire.gov.uk. Outside normal office hours Delta Wellbeing provides an emergency service on 0300 333 2222.

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We are recruiting – staff needed

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The council is urgently seeking more staff as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

We are looking to recruit people into a number of jobs throughout Carmarthenshire to help keep frontline services running, but particularly need carers, cleaners and catering staff.

No previous experience is needed, as full training will be provided.

The council offers good rates of pay and flexible hours. Full and part-time, permanent and temporary contracts are available.

The council also has vacancies for social workers so if you have the relevant qualifications and experience please get in touch.

Deputy Leader Cllr Mair Stephens, executive board member for recruitment and training, said: “It is vital that we keep our essential frontline services running during this crisis; and as a result, we have some vacancies that we need to fill immediately.

“We may also start to see staff shortages in some areas in the coming weeks, so we need to be prepared to fill these.

“We are urging people who are in a position to apply for these jobs to please contact us, your community needs you. Don’t worry if you don’t have experience in these areas as full training will be given.

“As well as recruiting new staff, we are also redeploying staff where possible from non-critical services to other roles as and when needed.

“I want to reassure residents we are doing all we can to protect frontline services during this extremely difficult and uncertain time.”

We want to make the application process as easy as possible, so only the mandatory fields on the application form will need to be completed along with a brief statement. Applicants will be contacted by telephone following their application.

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