A landlord who defrauded HMRC out of almost �500,000 by keeping deductions from his employees' wages has been jailed for three years.
Michael Stainer, 74, (inset, main picture) was found guilty of two counts of cheating the public revenue and one of fraud by false representation while running The Grand on Folkestone seafront '� primarily made up of leasehold apartments as well as hotel rooms, bars and restaurants.
During the trial at Southwark Crown Court, the jury heard how money totalling �473,097 taken from staff pay-packets and meant for HMRC were instead pocketed by Stainer from 2006 to 2010.
After a visit by revenue officials, he tried to make submissions to HMRC but the company's PAYE account had been cancelled because of inactivity.
His wife, 60-year-old Doris Stainer, appeared charged with the same crimes but was found not guilty.
Judge Gregory Perins told Stainer: 'Many, if not all, of your employees were on low or minimum wage and you were ultimately responsible for paying these wages and deducting PAYE and National Insurance.
'However, you took the calculated decision not to do that and, although you deducted the amount of PAYE and National Insurance, you did not pass that money on and instead kept it.'�
Stainer, a chartered accountant, owned The Grand for more than 40 years but the couple were forced to step away after being declared bankrupt.
Last year, residents of the building bought the former hotel at auction for just �448,000 after its previous owner, Hallam Estates, was put into administration.
Richard Wilkinson, assistant director of the HMRC fraud investigation service, says: 'We welcome today's conviction of Michael Stainer, an employer who was stealing from his own staff. Instead of lining his pockets with their stolen tax contributions, this money should have been funding our vital public services, such as hospitals and schools.'�
Watch Michael Stainer talking about The Grand.
Read more about landlords caught avoiding tax.