11 June 2012

An IT consultant who failed to declare almost £2 million of income received from an IT consultancy business was jailed for five years for tax fraud.

Stephen Maxwell (53) claimed he had lost income after being involved in the Cumbria train disaster in 2007 which killed one passenger. He was hailed a hero for rescuing fellow passengers but an investigation by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), officers showed he had paid no tax for 9 years before the crash.

Between 1999 and 2008 Maxwell worked as an IT consultant for City of London banks. Fees were paid to companies - of which he was a hidden beneficiary - registered in Gibraltar and the Isle of Man. From 2005 the income was paid to a UK registered company which never made any tax returns.

David Odd, HMRC's Assistant Director Criminal Investigation in Scotland, said:

"This was a case of deliberate and systematic fraud. The tax system depends on people being honest but Maxwell consistently tried to conceal his income.

“Income tax fraud is not a victimless crime and HMRC take a very serious view of anyone who acts in this manner. We have robust procedures to identify abuse of our tax systems and are committed to pursuing any such fraud vigorously.”

HMRC press release