An IT consultant who failed to declare almost £2m in income has been sentenced to five years in jail for tax fraud.
Stephen Maxwell had claimed he lost income after being involved in the 2009 Cumbria train disaster in which a passenger died. He was dubbed a hero for rescuing fellow passengers from the wreckage of the smash but following an investigation by HMRC officers, it was revealed he had paid no tax for nearly a decade leading up to the rail tragedy.
The 53-year-old Scotsman worked as an IT consultant for a number of City banks between 1999 and 2008. Lucrative fees were paid to a slew of Gibraltar and Isle of Man-registered companies – of which he was a hidden beneficiary. And from 2005 the income was paid to a UK-registered company which never made any tax returns.
David Odd, HMRC’s assistant director for criminal investigation in Scotland, said: ‘This was a case of deliberate and systematic fraud. The tax system depends on people being honest but Maxwell consistently tried to conceal his income.
‘Income tax fraud is not a victimless crime and HMRC take a very serious view of anyone who acts in this manner. We have robust procedures to identify abuse of our tax systems and are committed to pursuing any such fraud vigorously.’
Kirkcudbright Sheriff Court heard that Maxwell of Wallock Brae, in Dalbeattie, Dumfries and Galloway, was responsible for a £635,015 loss to the Exchequer over the period 06 April 1999 – 05 April 2008.
Source – Accountancylive.com – 11 June 2012