A conveyancer who swindled his clients and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) out of almost £352,500 in stamp duty land tax, has been jailed for three years and four months.
The HMRC investigation found that Harrow based conveyancer Anthony Maragh, 57, lied on paperwork to undervalue his clients’ properties meaning the amount of tax owed was reduced. But he charged them the full amount and kept the difference.
Between 2008 and 2013, he 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 at the Fraud Investigation Service at HMRC, said: “As a conveyancer, 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.”
Confiscation proceedings to recover the proceeds of crime are underway.