Accountancy director jailed for three years for masterminding large tax fraud (From The Advertiser Series)
Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting NORTHERN ECHO to 80360 or email us
Mastermind behind major Shildon tax fraud jailed
A FORMER taxman who used his expertise to defraud the Inland Revenue of hundreds of thousands of pounds while working as a director of an accountancy firm was today (Thursday, March 21) jailed for three years.
Malcolm Maclean, 49, used his inside knowledge to mastermind a sophisticated scam that deprived the taxman of nearly £370,000 by falsifying a construction industry scheme and self-assessment returns.
The 49-year-old became the national co-ordinator for the construction industry helpline at the Inland Revenue’s Washington office, before leaving to work in the private sector, Newcastle Crown Court was told.
Passing sentence, Recorder Charles Ekins said: “This was a meticulously planned and sophisticated fraud upon Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.
“And whatever the roles of others may have been, in is plain to me, because your particularly unique position you must have been a leading creator of the fraud.”
Andrew Haslam, prosecuting, said MacLean, along with Aidan Tait, David Fisher and his estranged wife Pauline Maclean were directors of the company Maclean Fisher Tait Accounting and Taxation.
The company, based at the George Reynolds Industrial Estate at Shildon, County Durham, set up two companies claiming to be involved in the construction industry.
Maclean of Castle Hill, Wylam, Northumberland, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the public revenue and conspiracy to conceal stolen property between April 6, 2008 and March 2, 2011.
Paul Cross, mitigating, said MacLean had long-standing problems with alcohol which may have affected his judgement.
Today’s hearing comes a week after Tait, 30, of Griffiths Court, Bowburn, and Fisher, 28, of Hallgarth Street, Sherburn, were handed six-month prison sentences suspended for two years after they pleaded guilty to false accounting.
Not guilty pleas to the conspiracy by Maclean’s estranged wife Pauline Maclean, 49, of Burnie Gardens, Shildon, were accepted.
Paul Rooney, assistant director for criminal investigation, HMRC, said: “This group are professionally trained accounting specialists who used their knowledge not only to defraud taxpayers but to rip off their own clients, assuming their knowledge would mean they could get away with it. That three professionals should conspire to abuse their clients’ trust in this way to line their own pockets makes this fraud even more shocking.”