A conveyancer from Harrow who swindled his clients and 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 conveyancer Anthony Maragh, 57, lied on paperwork to undervalue his clients’ properties, meaning the amount of tax owed by the purchasers to HMRC was reduced.
But Maragh charged them the full amount and kept the difference.
Between 2008 and 2013 he under-declared the Stamp Duty 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 his firm’s client account on collectable antique Chinese gold bonds.
Maragh pleaded guilty to charges of cheating the public revenue at the Old Bailey at the end of October, and has now been sentenced.
Martin Brown, assistant director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, 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 under way.