HMRC has decided that a former accountant who was found guilty of tax fraud has to pay back £2,462,175 within 10 months or have an additional eight years added to his prison sentence.
60-year-old Christos Charalambous was sentenced to eight years in jail in July 2010 after he was found guilty of submitting more than 6,000 fraudulent Self Assessment income tax returns. His clients never saw the information he put on their returns, which included fictitious claims for expenses. He received tax repayments from HMRC, which he duly passed on to his clients, minus his fee of at least 15%. Charalambous received a total of £11.2 million in repayments from HMRC but the Revenue is seeking the balance from the former clients who received the fraudulent rebates.
As well as fleecing his clients, he understated his income on his own tax returns and did not register his accountancy firm for VAT, thus avoiding payment of the tax.
HMRC’s assistant director of criminal investigations, Robert Alder, said the department to determined to let people know that crime does not pay. The money in this case belongs to the public purse and the confiscation order will make sure it gets returned. This is a clear indication that tax evasion and fraudulently claiming tax rebates does not pay.
He went on to add that HMRC works alongside the Crown Prosecution Service to bring tax fraudsters to justice and make sure they are unable to profit from their crimes.