Accountants in London may like to learn that Blackfriars Crown Court recently found a professional tax adviser guilty of attempting to defraud taxpayers.
David Perrin, the deputy MD at Vantis Tax Ltd, created a tax avoidance scheme exploiting the law on donating shares to charity and sold it to wealthy taxpayers. Unsuspecting clients forked out over £2 million in fees; money Perrin spent on exotic holidays and luxury cars.
Perrin set up four new companies and used a network of financial professionals to recommend the shares to more than 600 rich clients. The companies were then listed on the Stock Exchange in the Channel Islands and Perrin paid people from an offshore bank account to trade in the shares in order to inflate their price.
The owners of the shares donated 329 million shares to registered charities and attempted to claim £70 million in tax relief from HMRC. They based their claim on the shares having a value of around £1 as opposed to the pennies they actually cost.
Jim Graham, a criminal investigator for the Revenue, said Perrin thought his knowledge of the tax system put him a step ahead of HMRC and the law. Not only did he steal from taxpayers, but he also conned charities into accepting virtually worthless gifts in order to inflate his criminal earnings.
Perrin will be sentenced by the Crown Court on the 9th of February and confiscation proceedings have already been initiated.