HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has revealed that the former owner of a West London law firm, Manpreet Singh, has been jailed for more than three years for stealing £380,000 in Stamp Duty.
Singh was the owner and director of Reemans Solicitors Ltd, and would pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) to HMRC on behalf of clients buying property.
However, an investigation revealed he “repeatedly falsified” documents and submitted incorrect information to reduce the amount of stamp duty due, with Singh charging his clients the full correct amount and “pocketed the difference”.
In total, Singh filed 52 fraudulent SDLT returns to HMRC between November 2010 and July 2015. He continued to submit false documentation to try and “cover up his wrongdoing” when HMRC started looking into his tax affairs.
Singh admitted his wrongdoings at Isleworth Crown Court on 6 July 2021 where he was subsequently sentenced to three years and four months in prison.
To date, he has repaid around £253,000 of the stolen SDLT with proceedings ongoing to recover the remaining amount.
Linda Hamilton, deputy director, fraud investigation service, HMRC, said: “Singh worked in a position of trust and thought it was acceptable to con his clients and steal taxpayers’ money which should be used to fund our vital public services.
“HMRC will continue to pursue the small minority, like Singh, who think fraud is an acceptable way to do business.