Stephen Nicholas Riozzi, 53, has been given three months to pay the confiscation order or serve the extra jail time.
During investigations into Riozzi’s finances after his original arrest in 2011, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) found that he had amassed a substantial property portfolio in the UK and abroad.
Zoe Ellerbeck, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
“Riozzi profited from the illegal trade in smuggled cigarettes and counterfeit tobacco and now has to repay his criminal profits. HMRC is committed to recovering money stolen from UK taxpayers whether it is hidden here or abroad.
“We urge anyone with information about the commercial trading of smuggled goods and the associated tax evasion in the Merseyside area to contact us on 0800 59 5000.”
His Honour Judge Wright at Liverpool Crown Court accepted that Riozzi had been living a lifestyle well beyond his declared income and that his properties were bought with the criminal profits associated with the illegal trade in smuggled cigarettes and tax evasion.
Riozzi, of The Park, Huyton, was caught at an industrial unit in Knowsley in December 2011 with huge quantities of illegal cigarettes and counterfeit tobacco. He was arrested by HMRC but gave investigators a false address and denied any knowledge of the tobacco products.
In March 2014 he was jailed for 53 months after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to two counts of fraud. The court determined today that he had benefited by £913,863 from his crimes, linked to 5.5 million smuggled cigarettes discovered at a Knowsley industrial unit.