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Checkmate for tax agent who defrauded £750,000

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A chess-playing tax agent, who made bogus claims in the names of his clients to steal more than £750,000, has been jailed for 10 years.

10th Oct 2023
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Chess-loving tax agent Robin Moss, who stole more than £750,000 in a tax and mortgage fraud, has been jailed for ten years. Moss, 58, was sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court after first being charged with fraud in 2018. 

The jury heard how the internationally recognised chess player from Dumfries lied about his income and made bogus claims in the names of unsuspecting clients. Moss also provided false documents that were used in fraudulent mortgage applications.

In one particularly egregious example brought in front of the jury, a client of Moss’s was persuaded to pay their £53,000 tax bill through the crooked agent, which Moss later paid into his own bank account, rather than to HMRC.

A taste for luxury

Following an investigation by HMRC and Leicestershire Police, it was also revealed that Moss used the defrauded money to splash out on thousands of pounds’ worth of luxury goods. These included £115,000 worth of collectible Moorcroft pottery, £89,251 on gold coins and £18,930 on jewellery. 

Moss’s wife, Liliana, admitted a £115,000 money-laundering charge, in which she received a seven-month prison sentence suspended for a year. Another collaborator, Rajvir Sahota, also admitted mortgage fraud, using false documents supplied by Moss, and was sentenced to six months in prison after pleading guilty.

An abuse of trust

Commenting on the verdict, Nick Stone, operational lead in HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, said that Moss’s sentence will “serve as a warning” to others and doubled down on the tax authority’s promise to work with law enforcement to bring criminals to justice.

“Robin Moss abused his position of trust to steal from clients and the taxpayer,” Stone said. “Tax fraud is never a victimless crime and the eye-watering sums he spent on pottery and gold should have been funding the public services we all rely on.”

Former Leicestershire police detective, Jason Helm took a similar stance, celebrating the two bodies’ collaboration in achieving the conviction. “This has been a lengthy investigation and one that has required a lot of hard work and tenacity across both police and HMRC,” Helm said.

Continued crackdown

The verdict comes hot on the heels of another recent court case involving tax adviser Joseph Logue, who was handed a sentence of three years and nine months for stealing £107k in tax fraud last month.

Similar to Moss, Logue submitted false information on behalf of clients, keeping multiple HMRC payouts for himself over a four-year period and spending the stolen money on alcohol and hotels.

Reiterating their stance that Logue’s sentence should act as a warning to others in an HMRC press release, the two court verdicts highlight HMRC’s more aggressive approach to tax fraud in recent times. 

During the Spring Budget, Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt revealed a change to the rules around sentencing for more serious cases like the ones above, with maximum jail terms doubled to 14 years for the worst offenders. 

Replies (42)

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the sea otter
By memyself-eye
10th Oct 2023 17:03

No wonder HMRC doesn't trust 'agents'
He should have gotten 20 years

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Replying to memyself-eye:
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By pinksteven1981
11th Oct 2023 11:25

Maximum is 14 :)

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By Justin Bryant
10th Oct 2023 17:22

A good example of where HMRC will spend their valuable resources prosecuting tax fraud i.e. a tax agent on the fiddle big time. Here is a good example of where they won't bother (although some here don't think so): https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/adding-grandparents-to-a-com...

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Replying to Justin Bryant:
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
11th Oct 2023 12:49

Justin Bryant wrote:
Here is a good example of where they won't bother (although some here don't think so): https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/adding-grandparents-to-a-com...


You're still perpetuating this stupid misinterpretation of what people have said!

Let me say it again, no-one said HMRC is likely to investigate particular examples of tax fraud. We said it was irrelevant because we would advise clients to behave correctly regardless of the risk of being investigated.

Up to now I've been giving you the benefit of the doubt that you would do the same. Your continued persistence on this point is starting to make me think you advise on which tax frauds clients are safe to commit instead. If that isn't the case, why are you continuing to pursue this asinine point?

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Replying to Justin Bryant:
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By Justin Bryant
12th Oct 2023 10:41

Another good example here (i.e. it's exceptional for HMRC to prosecute for tax fraud, despite what some here think or may have previously thought before I corrected them): https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-67088503

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By Tonykelly
10th Oct 2023 17:25

I have checked his rating on the FIDE website. His current rating is 2266 and he is an FM (FIDE Master). This is below level of International Master and Grandmaster, nowhere near the standard of that there Magnus, but still a fairly handy chess player.

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Replying to Tonykelly:
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By Postingcomments
10th Oct 2023 18:15

Why do you feel the need to mention that he isn't GM/Magnus level? Is that the only standard that is worthy of respect?

Just because someone has committed a crime, you don't need to try to be derisive about everything they do. People are capable of good and bad.

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Replying to Postingcomments:
By Tonykelly
11th Oct 2023 13:02

Yes, you are absolutely correct and I can only apologise. To say he hadn't reached the level of Magnus Carlsen was a terrible thing to say. I didn't realise I was being so derisive. Thank you for pointing this out.

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Replying to Tonykelly:
Danny Kent
By Viciuno
11th Oct 2023 09:49

He'll have plenty of time to practice now!

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paddle steamer
By DJKL
10th Oct 2023 17:37

Obviously the frauds were a weak opening gambit that eventually unraveled.

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By Open all hours
10th Oct 2023 22:40

The right Moorcroft should have increased in value if it is available for repossession.

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Should Be Working ... not playing with the car
By should_be_working
11th Oct 2023 09:52

Another case where we aren't told if he was a member of any professional body. Surely that would have been mentioned at some point during the proceedings?

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By Apache999
11th Oct 2023 10:06

Robin Moss will he serve 10 years?
Liliana Moss suspended sentence
Rajvir Sahota will he serve 6 months?

So, charged in 2018 - I wonder how may many man hours (police, hmrc, courts, etc., etc.)?

Is this getting the 'message out there'?

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Replying to Apache999:
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By johnjenkins
11th Oct 2023 10:18

Lilana and Rajvir were just pawns.

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By Alanpryan
11th Oct 2023 10:07

Probably a drop in the ocean compared to the thousands of individual sub-contractors filing their own tax returns and claiming huge CIS refunds on the back of inflated expenses claims?

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Replying to Alanpryan:
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By johnjenkins
11th Oct 2023 10:19

That is one of the reasons why HMRC should let us take over the admin which will leave them to investigate and collect.

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Replying to Alanpryan:
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By Vallery Lee
11th Oct 2023 17:04

I had a subcontractor contact me with a view to dealing with his SA return (a few years ago). I prepared the return with the conclusion that he owed income tax. The client became quite abusive, saying that I had no idea about tax and that sub-contractors did NOT pay tax!!. Surprisingly he paid my estimate.
I refused to act further and he said he would get a friend to do it. A few days later I looked up his return on line and found a very high number of expenses claimed. I contacted HMRC and gave them the correct figures - and never heard another word.

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By Aldo Scotia
11th Oct 2023 10:11

He'll be rooked now.

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Replying to Aldo Scotia:
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By johnjenkins
11th Oct 2023 10:17

Certainly not knighted.

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Replying to johnjenkins:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
11th Oct 2023 10:26

Or crowned, perhaps forgiveness from a Bishop awaits.

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Replying to Aldo Scotia:
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By Casterbridge Hardy LLP
11th Oct 2023 10:24

Well, he certainly was not a pawn in the game!

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By johnjenkins
11th Oct 2023 10:16

Having a bit of a criminal mind myself and a not bad chess player, I find myself astounded by the most obvious fraud that was bound to be found out. There was no "gambit" just plain "sacrifice". Getting someone to pay their tax bill into his account and then not paying HMRC???????????????? the mind boggles.
This post may sound as if I'm all for fraud, not the case. I just expected someone of this man's intelligence to come up with something a bit more complex.

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Replying to johnjenkins:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
11th Oct 2023 10:27

The Sicilian Defence, perhaps, a quick exit and change of identity in Naples.

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Replying to DJKL:
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By johnjenkins
11th Oct 2023 10:54

Come on DJKL Naples is in Italy not Sicily. You could have either Indian defenses and join the scammers in Bombay. I don't think there is a Nigerian defense.

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Replying to johnjenkins:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
11th Oct 2023 11:02

That is true, afraid I associate both with an organised crime organisation that can make people disappear, hence the error

There is always the French Defence

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Replying to DJKL:
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By johnjenkins
11th Oct 2023 11:22

"Run Robin, run Robin, run run run".

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Replying to johnjenkins:
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By Brudge
11th Oct 2023 10:55

Could have been a different figure on the submitted tax return maybe !

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Replying to Brudge:
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By johnjenkins
11th Oct 2023 11:04

Most definitely, however to get rid of that sort of money the expenses or CA would have to be high, or sales reduced, or both, which almost certainly would have prompted an enquiry.

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JD Portrait
By John Downes
11th Oct 2023 10:21

Stone said. “Tax fraud is never a victimless crime and the eye-watering sums he spent on pottery and gold should have been funding the public services we all rely on.”
Or maybe frittered away on HS2, housing for illegal immigrants, buying back gilts at a loss, overseas aid, wind farm subsidies, waging a war on motorists....

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Replying to John Downes:
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By Roland195
11th Oct 2023 13:38

"I'm not the thief, the government is. Aid to ungrateful foreigners, do-nothing nuclear missiles, tomb polish for some unknown soldier"

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Replying to John Downes:
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By Postingcomments
11th Oct 2023 15:32

Is it "spending" when you buy gold? Or is it "investing" - given that gold lasts forever and has been regarded as valuable by mankind for thousands of years.........

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Replying to Postingcomments:
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By johnjenkins
11th Oct 2023 15:54

If it's a gold wedding ring and she divorces you it's a capital loss.

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Replying to Postingcomments:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
11th Oct 2023 16:27

It does not last if you handle it, it wears away.

(My other half's wedding ring ,after 33 years, is even thinner than it was when I had it made- back then the manufacturing jeweler was a client of the firm I was with and he made it to her spec)

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Replying to DJKL:
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By johnjenkins
12th Oct 2023 09:22

Are you sure she's not filing it down a bit each year and selling the filings to the pawn shop?

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Replying to John Downes:
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By Vallery Lee
11th Oct 2023 17:07

What happens to all the expensive items bought from this kind of fraud - are they reclaimed and sold to reimburse those defrauded?

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By Mr J Andrews
11th Oct 2023 10:30

No mention if the CPS got involved under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Otherwise Moss will no doubt pawn the luxury goods after serving 4 years of his sentence.

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By Nebs
11th Oct 2023 10:31

In cases like this, what happens to the clients who have paid their tax money to him only for it to disappear? Do they get credit, do they have to pay again, do they take legal action against the accountant or his professional body, or both?

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Replying to Nebs:
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By johnjenkins
11th Oct 2023 10:58

That's very interesting. Criminal compensation?

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By SuperAccountingSteve
11th Oct 2023 11:05

Just think how they could have also wasted that £750k, if it wasnt stolen from the government.

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By Ralphgab
11th Oct 2023 11:32

10 years for £750k! Who says crime doesn't pay? He'll probably be out in 6 in open prison too. An ex submariner told me that open prison was a piece of p**s compared to being in a submarine. And these figures for Moss & Logue pale into insignificance compared to sums stolen from taxpayers for HS2 and Test & Trace. Have they recovered more than the £200k or so for luxury goods?

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By SteveHa
11th Oct 2023 11:52

At least Logue spent his ill gotten gains on something worthwhile.

Moss, on the other hand, pottery? Do me a favour.

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Replying to SteveHa:
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By johnjenkins
11th Oct 2023 12:28

I said to myself I wasn't going to post this.
I thought it was a bit potty too. So what's the favor?

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