A Christchurch businessman who lost just over $895,000 gambling has been jailed for three years after pleading guilty to tax evasion.

Chung Tuyen La, who traded as a chicken and fish wholesaler under the name Wycola Chicken, admitted to knowingly providing false information to the Commissioner of Inland Revenue with intent to evade the assessment or payment of $900,000 in tax.

Between October 2009 and July 2015 La completed false income tax and GST returns that under-reported income from sales.

Tony Morris, Inland Revenue spokesperson, said an investigation revealed a number of bank transactions – including cash, cheque deposits and electronic transfers – in La's personal bank accounts that appeared to be related to Wycola Chicken.


"La filled-out cheques for customers which they then signed. He also told some to write the cheque out to him rather than the company or told them to pay the money into a personal bank account in his name.

"He told us he hadn't received any other income other than what was recorded in the company accounts and that he had made money through gambling. But a review showed that he had in fact made considerable losses at casinos, totalling $895,014."

Morris said money that doesn't go through company bank accounts is often used to fund lifestyle spending on things like overseas holidays or gambling.

"But funding gambling losses to this extent is hard to explain to investigators when very little has been drawn down from the business account or private bank accounts."

La has also been ordered to pay reparation of at least $800,000.