Freeman Admits to Fraud, Tax Evasion; Faces Jail Time

By Loretta Hunt Feb 11, 2009
UFC veteran Ian Freeman faces jail time after failing to declare income earned from professional fights he competed in and other fight-related employment between 2003-2005. The Durham Crown Court in Sunderland, England, will sentence Freeman on March 3.

Freeman plead guilty to “three charges of making a false statement, one charge of fraudulently evading income tax, and one charge of making a false statement to obtain a mortgage,” according to a Feb. 3 article in the Sunderland Echo. Freeman, 41, is a Sunderland native and a father of three.

Freeman is being penalized for unpaid tax income and inaccurate tax credit paid between January 2003 and July 2006, totaling £44,178 ($65,312.50 USD).

Freeman’s wife Angela also admitted to three charges of making false statements, including submitting an inaccurate application for tax credit, according to the article. Mrs. Freeman will receive a “suspended sentence” and will not serve jail time.

“I've never held a full time job,” Freeman wrote in an email to Sherdog.com last week. “All I've known is doorman work or fighting and I last worked the doors over 10 years ago. I know nothing about taxes and what I need to do to pay the tax man.”

Freeman (19-7-1), who made six appearances in the Octagon up until 2003, said his confusion came from fighting in the U.S., where taxes were withheld before payment, and then in his homeland, where taxes are to be paid by the person of his own accord.

“From 2003 to the end of 2004, I fought in the UK and when I received my purse money, I automatically accepted it was all mine,” he wrote. “The government do not tax you like the USA. You have to pay the taxman yourself in England. So due to ignorance of the law, I never paid taxes.”

Freeman said he paid his taxes from 2006 on when he became self-employed.

“I had broken law, but not to my knowledge,” wrote Freeman. “Ignorance is not a defense, so I had to plead guilty. I wish I knew then what I know now.”

Freeman retired from active competition in 2005, but returned a year later for three fights with Cage Rage in London. Freeman was also hired as a coach for a UK squad in the International Fight League, but the promotion went under before his team could debut. Freeman last competed for UK’s Cage Rage in May 2008, earning a unanimous decision over Paul Cahoon in a light heavyweight championship bout.

Freeman plans to fulfill ring announcer duties for M-1 Challenge’s season two opener on Feb. 21 in Seattle.
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