An accountant who acted as treasurer to two Birmingham based charities stole more than £500,000 through claiming false tax repayments using the Gift Aid scheme, and by transferring cash to his personal bank account. He has now been found guilty of tax fraud and sentenced to jail for five years.
Steven Methuen (age 57) of Stourbridge, controlled the finances of the Amblecote Christian Centre, and the Christian International Relief Mission. He made false Gift Aid claims to corruptly obtain tax repayments from HMRC of £195,000. He then stole that money for himself – whilst also siphoning off a further £322,000 from the charities’ own funds.
Methuen originally told HMRC criminal investigators that the discrepancies in the books were due to errors in the computer software. However, digital forensic analysis by HMRC tax investigation specialists and West Midlands Police proved that he had transferred around £517,000 to his own account, and in paying his personal credit cards bills. Methuen then pleaded guilty to: five counts of Fraudulently Filing Gift Aid Repayment Claims Contrary to Common Law; and 12 counts of Theft under the Theft Act of 1969 in relation to payments made to himself from Amblecote Christian Centre and Christian International Relief Mission. He was sentenced to five years in prison at Wolverhampton Crown Court yesterday.
Lynam Tax Investigation Experts have a vast amount of practical experience in managing serious tax fraud investigations. If you are worried about a tax investigation we can advise you on the best course of action. If appropriate, we can help you manage any necessary disclosures. If you are facing criminal charges we can help you obtain first class legal representation, in order to obtain the optimum outcome for you, your business and your family.
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