A chartered accountant from Essex who acted as a financial adviser and stole £107,000 of tax and tried to hide the money in his children’s bank accounts has been jailed.
Abdul Aziz Patel, a chartered certified accountant, failed to register with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and did not declare his earnings and money he made from renting out a property – an income of almost £430,000.
Instead, the 54-year-old held the money in a variety of bank accounts that he controlled, including accounts he had opened in his children’s names.
Patel was registered to act as an agent for his clients, providing services as an accountant and financial adviser, but often asked his clients to pay him cash, in an attempt to hide his true earnings, brazenly telling them: “HMRC will see the profit made and I would have to pay tax.”
He was offered the opportunity to pay what he owed in full, plus any interest and penalties due, through HMRC’s civil contractual disclosure facility but ignored all letters sent to him. Then the tax office began a criminal investigation into his tax affairs.
Patel, from Ilford in Essex, was arrested in September 2013.
Paul Barton, assistant director of the fraud investigation service at HMRC, said: “As an accountant, Patel was in a position of trust and knew only too well his actions were illegal and what the consequences would be when he was caught. “
Patel, who traded as AAUP and Adam & Fleming from April 2005, initially admitted to HMRC investigators that he had not declared his income since 2005 and in a panic he had shredded some of his bank statements.
However, he later changed his story, claiming that a childhood friend in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, with no accountancy experience, was really in control of his businesses and rental property.
He was charged and found guilty of cheating the public revenue and was sentenced to four years in prison at Snaresbrook Crown Court on 19 May 2016.
His Honour Judge Kamil said: “As an accountant and registered agent acting for others, what you did was not through ignorance or negligence, it was through pure greed.”
Confiscation proceedings to recover the proceeds of his criminal activity will follow.