An Essex accountant was convicted, but avoided prison with a suspended 10-month sentence for attempting to evade nearly £100,000 of tax by falsifying VAT returns.
AAT member Martin Kennedy from Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex, pleaded guilty to charges under the VAT Act 1994 and Fraud Act 2002 last week at Ipswich Crown Court.
He admitted supressing client business transactions by £93,799 between December 2007 and June 2002, resulting in a non-payment of £99,651 of VAT.
The fraud was discovered after an HMRC investigation.
While being investigated, Kennedy maintained that if he had declared the correct VAT amount, he would have been unable to pay staff and left with a zero bank balance.
However, during the time the fraud took place, he purchased bought a house for £280,000 and a large number of shares.
Alongside his 10-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, he received a curfew restricting his movements from 6pm to 6am for six months.
Paul Barton, Assistant Director of Criminal investigation for HMRC, said that Kennedy thought his accountant status meant he was "untouchable".
"But instead has learnt the hard way that crime does not pay. As well as a criminal record, his reputation and career are in tatters.
“Kennedy made deliberate and sustained attempts to fake his VAT returns, to fund a lifestyle well beyond his means.”