Goodmayes accountant who failed to declare income jailed for four years

Abdul Aziz Patel

Abdul Aziz Patel - Credit: Archant

A chartered accountant who stole £107,000 of tax and tried to hide the money in his children’s bank accounts has been jailed for four years.

Abdul Aziz Patel, 54, of Goodmayes Lane, Goodmayes, failed to register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and declare his earnings and money made from renting out a property – an income of almost £430,000.

Instead, he held the money in a number of bank accounts, including those he had opened in his children’s names.

Patel often asked his clients to pay him in cash in an attempt to hide his true earnings, 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.

He was arrested in September 2013.

Paul Barton, assistant director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, 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.

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“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.”

During an interview, Patel initially admitted to HMRC investigators that he had not declared his income since 2005 and in a panic 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.

Mr Barton added: “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.”