MortgagesNov 17 2015

London conveyancer jailed for stamp duty fraud

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London conveyancer jailed for stamp duty fraud

A HM Revenue and Customs investigation has found that conveyancer Anthony Maragh, 57, lied on paperwork to undervalue his clients’ properties, meaning the amount of tax owed was reduced.

But Mr Maragh, of Shaftesbury Avenue in South Harrow, charged them the full amount and kept the difference.

At the Old Bailey on Friday (13 November) he was jailed for three years and four months. He had pleaded guilty to charges of cheating the public revenue back on 26 October.

Between 2008 and 2013, Mr Maragh under-declared the stamp duty land tax due on 43 property transactions, transferring £297,000 directly from the solicitor’s company accounts into his personal bank account.

He also spent a further £55,000 directly from the client account on collectable antique Chinese gold bonds.

Martin Brown, assistant director for the fraud investigation service at HMRC, said that as a conveyancer, Mr Maragh knew only too well that he was breaking the law and what the consequences of his actions would be.

“He abused the trust of his clients, stealing money that had been paid by them in good faith to meet their tax liabilities, to line his own pockets.

“Maragh thought that his scheme would go undetected, but he was wrong and is now behind bars with his reputation and career in tatters.”

On sentencing, Her Honour Judge Poulet said: “This was repeated offending and an abuse of position and trust with a large number of victims exposed to risk.”

Confiscation proceedings to recover the proceeds of crime are underway.