A London-based mortgage broker has received a two year suspended jail sentence and been ordered to carry out 240 hours of community service for trying to evade corporation tax and for falsifying information on applications.
Asim Hussain, director of Lifestyle Mortgages, moved income payments from the firm’s accounts to other accounts, and in doing so managed to make the firm’s profits appear lower and thus avoid paying £115,000 in corporation tax. The sums gained as a result of the fraud were then used by Mr Hussain to make overpayments on his mortgage and to effect property and land investments.
He pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court to the tax evasion charges, and has also been found guilty of falsifying clients’ income and employment details on mortgage applications.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is now seeking to recover the unpaid tax.
The case was referred to the police by the former financial watchdog the Financial Services Authority (FSA) when it banned Mr Hussain from working in financial services back in 2008. The FSA was initially informed by a mortgage lender that it had concerns about the accuracy of information on applications he submitted.
Gary Forbes, assistant director of criminal investigation at HMRC, said:
“Hussain seemed to believe he could act above the law and that by simply moving money between bank accounts he would stay off HMRC’s radar. Instead, he has learned the hard way that crime does not pay – he now has a criminal record and his reputation and career are in tatters. What Hussain did was illegal and immoral – he used the money that should have gone back into funding some of the UK’s most vital public services to invest in his property and enjoy a lifestyle most honest taxpayers can only dream of.”
Detective Constable Philip Palmer of the Metropolitan Police said:
“This sentencing is the result of a coordinated approach by the MPS, HMRC and FCA and should send a strong message to the financial and banking community that mortgage fraud and tax cheating will not go unpunished. Every penny that Hussain evaded increased the tax burden on law-abiding citizens and deprived government [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][of] revenue.”
Georgina Philippou, acting director of enforcement and market oversight at the Financial Conduct Authority, said:
“This is a very serious offence and this sentencing demonstrates that any attempt to abuse the system will not be taken lightly. It is an excellent example of the authorities working together to tackle an individual who put lenders and consumers at risk.”
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