Fraud on 'massive scale' saw Cornish accountant steal £2million

Cornish accountant jailed over 'Cornwall’s largest tax fraud'

Cornish accountant jailed over 'Cornwall’s largest tax fraud'

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A Cornish accountant who stole around £2 million by defrauding his clients and the taxman, in what is believed to be Cornwall’s largest tax fraud trial, was jailed yesterday for seven years.

Simon Terry Pearce, 48, worked as an accountant in St Austell, Cornwall for 27 years, but after complaints were received from a number of his clients, was investigated by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

HMRC investigators discovered that, over an eight-year-period, Pearce claimed tax repayments on behalf of at least 16 clients but failed to pass on some or all of the money due to them.

Pearce also submitted incorrect tax returns, defrauding HMRC of Income Tax, VAT and Capital Gains Tax. He falsified his own Self Assessment tax returns with lower profit figures, lied about authority to receive payments on behalf of a customer, forged a client’s signature on accounts sent to Companies House, and forged letters authorising him to receive Income Tax payments.

In some cases his clients were unaware that their tax returns had been submitted and had no idea they were due a refund.

Colin Spinks, HMRC Assistant Director Criminal Investigation, said: “Honest, hardworking people trusted Pearce with their finances, but he put their livelihoods at risk through his own greed. Sadly, he abused his reputation and position to commit tax fraud on a massive scale, stealing from clients and the wider taxpaying public.

“Our long and complex investigation shows we take this type of crime extremely seriously and ask anyone with information about people involved in tax fraud to contact the Tax Evasion Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

Upon sentencing at Truro Crown Court, His Honour Judge Neligan, said: “There was a considerable degree of planning and that the cheating was persistent”. He added that Pearce “demonstrated a systematically dishonest approach to tax returns and clearly had some talent, which he sadly used to defraud.”

Comments (2)

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4:41pm Wed 9 Apr 14

Gillian R.Z. Martin says...

I cannot understand people who have a perfectly good job and income, and yet put it all at risk along with their reputation. I would much rather be poor or less well off, but honest and trustworthy, than rich and deceitful and lose the trust of others.
I cannot understand people who have a perfectly good job and income, and yet put it all at risk along with their reputation. I would much rather be poor or less well off, but honest and trustworthy, than rich and deceitful and lose the trust of others. Gillian R.Z. Martin
  • Score: 3

1:15pm Sat 3 May 14

Pink Pasty says...

As a former client & victim of Mr Pearce (& some of his associates) ....If only those members of some Cornwall LGBT businesses, organisations (even some gay run charities in Cornwall & Exeter) had not subjected gay whistle-blowers to a vicious campaign of hatred when victims had raised their concerns about Mr Pearce (& others). Mr Pearce was the Cornwall Pride treasurer & Cornwall Pride main sponsor, but when concerns were raised by concerned individuals in the gay community following Mr Pearce original arrest the concerned persons were subjected to a vicious hate campaign, contributed too by some Cornwall Pride committee members & supporters. Devon & Cornwall police were their usual complacent, arrogant & dishonest selves, dismissing the hate campaign & information provided about Mr Pearce (& others). Some information provided to police was also submitted in court evidence in a gagging order made against one of the victims. It was HM Tax office who brought the successful prosecution resulting in the 7yr prison term of Mr Pearce. There are those in some of Cornwall's LGBT organisations & businesses who should hang their heads in shame at the way they contributed to victimising some of Mr Pearce's victims still further. Cornwall police were utterly no better.
As a former client & victim of Mr Pearce (& some of his associates) ....If only those members of some Cornwall LGBT businesses, organisations (even some gay run charities in Cornwall & Exeter) had not subjected gay whistle-blowers to a vicious campaign of hatred when victims had raised their concerns about Mr Pearce (& others). Mr Pearce was the Cornwall Pride treasurer & Cornwall Pride main sponsor, but when concerns were raised by concerned individuals in the gay community following Mr Pearce original arrest the concerned persons were subjected to a vicious hate campaign, contributed too by some Cornwall Pride committee members & supporters. Devon & Cornwall police were their usual complacent, arrogant & dishonest selves, dismissing the hate campaign & information provided about Mr Pearce (& others). Some information provided to police was also submitted in court evidence in a gagging order made against one of the victims. It was HM Tax office who brought the successful prosecution resulting in the 7yr prison term of Mr Pearce. There are those in some of Cornwall's LGBT organisations & businesses who should hang their heads in shame at the way they contributed to victimising some of Mr Pearce's victims still further. Cornwall police were utterly no better. Pink Pasty
  • Score: 1

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