A solicitor has been struck off and disqualified after he was found to have falsified HMRC returns in order to underpay Stamp Duty Land Tax and use the proceeds to keep his business running.
Munpreet Singh Virdee was the director of Reemans Solicitors, which was wound up last year due to the money owed. He has also been disqualified from acting as a company director for six years.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal found that Virdee falsified 36 forms with the intention of underpaying the stamp duty tax on the transactions by a total of £311,862.
These transactions were declared between 2012 and 2016 with the firm only paying £196,123 in tax instead of the full £463,335.
The extra funds were paid into the office account and used to pay bills and keep the business running, Virdee admitted.
Virdee was arrested by HMRC in 2018 after it was found the stamp duty paid was less than what was stated on the title transfer forms filed with Land Registry.
He subsequently sold his house in 2019 and paid the balance of proceeds to the HMRC to address the alleged shortfall, telling the tribunal he “could not bear to live with the fact that any of my clients would suffer as a result of my actions.”
Approximately £210,000 was paid to HMRC to cover the missing tax.
The tribunal said: “His misconduct was deliberate, calculated, repeated and had continued over a significant period of time. He had concealed his conduct from those with whom he worked.
“When initially contacted by HMRC, he explained to his colleagues and to HMRC that the shortage in the payments had been made in error when he knew that was not the case.”
He has been ordered to pay £21,752 in costs.
Shekina is a reporter at Mortgage Solutions. She has over two years experience in the B2B publishing market, with previous industries including the pet, funeral, hospitality, retail and jewellery trades.
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