Former Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) president Andrew Meeson and his associate Peter Bradley have been jailed for eight-and-a-half years each for a £5m tax fraud.
Meeson and Bradley were found guilty of conspiring to cheat HMRC between 1 January 2006 and 30 April 2010 by claiming tax relief on fictitious pension contributions.
The pair received income tax repayments of £5m, claiming this was the refund due on £20m of contributions pension scheme members had made.
Following an investigation, the contributions were found by HMRC not to exist.
The scheme was administered by Tudor Capital Management ltd, of which they were directors.
In a statement to ATT members, the association called it a "very difficult and sad episode".
The then president wrote to members when the charges were laid against Andrew Meeson in November 2011 and some members questioned how he could have succeeded to the presidency when an HMRC investigation had begun into his firm.
"He had given assurances that the case was weak and would not proceed. When it was taken forward, he alerted the ATT Leadership Team and stepped down. We have examined our governance procedures and made adjustments," the ATT said in a public statement.
Two other business partners, along with Meeson and Bradley, were charged with tax fraud in October 2011 and strongly denied the charges, pleading not guilty.
The men were arrested in 2010 following raids by HMRC officers on their homes and business premises in the West Midlands and Derby.
In January, the court heard how Meeson and Bradley, along with his wife, exploited HMRC’s relief at source system to profit from bogus tax relief claims for two pension schemes for the Moya group of payroll companies.
Steven Price, a trustee of the pension fund, pleaded guilty to obtaining documents by deception under the Theft Act 1968 and was given an 18-month sentence, suspended for two years. However, he must also pay a fine of £100,000 within six months or go to jail for two years.
In addition to his sentence, Meeson was disqualified from being a company director for six years.
HMRC assistant director of criminal investigation Simon De Kayne said the fraud was “blatant theft” from the UK economy.
Confiscation proceedings to recover the crime profits are now taking place.
In conjunction with HMRC executing the search warrants in 2010, the Pensions Regulator took action to suspend Tudor Capital Management Ltd from acting as trustees for pension trust schemes.