A RESTAURATEUR who swindled the taxpayer out of £26,000 was handed a suspended jail sentence after a court heard his new-born child has a heart defect.

Father-of-three Jamel Hassen, 52, of Cardiff Road, Newport, carried out an “unsophisticated” VAT fraud for 15 months between 2014 and 2015.

Prosecutor Thomas Stanway said the entrepreneur had failed to register his company Naroush Ltd and supressed sales figures.


The defendant was running a takeaway and restaurant business with a £500,000 turnover in August 2015, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

Hassen pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud with the loss to HM Revenue and Customs standing at £26,792.87.

Mr Stanway added: “There is no evidence of extravagant living that I can refer to.”

The prosecution admitted that it would not be pursuing a Proceeds of Crime Act application to recover the money.

Christopher Rees, representing Hassen, said: “This was not a sophisticated fraud and there was no abuse of power.

“It was a legitimate business and the defendant failed to register the company for VAT.

“He has been running a restaurant in Cardiff for the last 12 months. It is now shut and the family do not have any assets.”

Mr Rees added that Hassen’s wife had just given birth to their child who has a heart defect and had undergone surgery.

The court was told the infant needs 24-hour care.

Judge Catherine Richards told the defendant: “I’m not going to send you to prison. You are 52 and have no relevant previous convictions.”

She added: “These are not victimless crimes as our taxes are used to pay for our public services.”

Hassen was jailed for 15 months, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to complete a 12-month community order.

He will have to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and a 10-day rehabilitation and activity requirement.

The defendant must also pay a £100 victim surcharge.