A Dewsbury shopkeeper who was jailed after he dodged £80,000 tax by selling fake branded cigarettes and tobacco has lost a Court of Appeal bid for freedom.
Arkan Rashid Ahmad, 36, was caught out by an undercover trading standards operation targeting his Global Groceries shop in the town in 2014.
It found he had sold vast quantities of counterfeit tobacco products and evaded huge sums in duty owed to the taxman.
Ahmad, of Princess Gardens, Dewsbury, admitted fraudulent trading and was jailed for 15 months at Leeds Crown Court in April.
Yesterday, he argued on appeal that his sentence should now be suspended to allow him to go free.
He is a man of “limited education”, the Court of Appeal in London was told, and would find prison harder than the average person.
He had never previously been in trouble and had done nothing wrong in the almost two years between his offence and his sentencing.
But Mr Justice Sweeney, sitting with Mr Justice King, said there was substantial evidence of Ahmad’s involvement in fraud.
“The evidence against him included test purchases on a number of occasions by undercover trading standards officers,” he said.
“There were search and seizure operations and his admission of knowingly selling fake tobacco.”
Ahmad’s offending had taken place between January and September 2014, the judge continued.
“This was an offence of fraudulent trading which continued over a period of months, put customers at risk and evaded a large amount of duty,” he added.
Rejecting the appeal bid, he said it was “simply not arguable” that the crown court judge was wrong not to suspend Ahmad’s sentence.