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Rail crash 'hero' jailed for hiding £2m income


Rail crash hero jailed for £2m tax fraud

by William Robins on Jun 07, 2012 at 15:21 from  http://www.citywire.co.uk/new-model-adviser/rail-crash-hero-jailed-for-2m-tax-fraud/a594460?ref=new-model-adviser-todays-news-list

A man hailed as a hero for saving lives in a train disaster has been jailed for five years for a £2 million tax fraud.

Stephen Maxwell avoided paying £635,000 of income tax by failing to declare almost £2 million of income received from an IT consultancy business. He was sentenced to five years in prison by Kirkcudbright Sheriff Court, in Scotland.

Maxwell claimed he had lost income after being involved in the Cumbria train disaster in 2009 which killed one passenger. 

Maxwell was hailed a hero for rescuing fellow passengers during the crash but an investigation by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) showed he had paid no tax for nine years before the crash.

HMRC said Maxwell had been dishonest and that tax avoidance was not a ‘victimless crime’.

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.’

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

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