A chartered accountant from Essex who stole £107,000 of tax and tried to hide the money in his children’s bank accounts has been jailed.
Abdul Aziz Patel, 54, a chartered certified accountant, failed to register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and did not declare his earnings and money he made from renting out a property – an income of almost £430,000. Instead, he 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 and HMRC began a criminal investigation into his tax affairs. Patel was arrested In September 2013.
Paul Barton, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, 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. He was given the chance to put things straight by paying the tax and penalty, but ignored it, so is now paying the price for ignoring his responsibilities.
“The vast majority of people in the UK pay the tax that they owe, and it is never acceptable for the small minority to steal the tax that should be funding public services. If you know of anyone committing tax fraud please report them by calling our 24-hour hotline on 0800 59 5000.”
At interview, Patel 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 yesterday (Thursday 19 May 2016).
HHJ 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.
Notes for editors
- Abdul Aziz Patel (DOB 01/05/1962) of Goodmayes Lane, Ilford, Essex, was charged with cheating the Public Revenue contrary to common law. He was jailed for four years when he appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Thursday 19 May 2016.
- Abdul Aziz Patel traded as AAUP and Adam & Fleming from April 2005.
- Patel’s total estimated income from accountancy and property rental from April 2005 to April 2013, is estimated as £429,438.25, with £107,718.38 tax due.
- HMRC have a range of tools available to deal with tax evasion, and criminal prosecution is just one of those tools used for the most serious cases. The Contractual Disclosure Facility (CDF) is an opportunity to tell HMRC about tax fraud. More information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/admitting-tax-fraud-the-contractual-disclosure-facility-cdf
- HMRC’s flickr site www.flickr.com/hmrcgovuk
- Follow HMRC’s press office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice
Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is the UK’s tax authority.
HMRC is responsible for making sure that the money is available to fund the UK’s public services and for helping families and individuals with targeted financial support.