SDLT Fraud Results In Solicitor Being Struck Off

Munpreet Singh Virdee falsified returns he sent to Her Majesty Revenue & Customs (HMRC) regarding the amount of stamp duty land tax (SDLT) paid on transactions, so he could pocket the difference has since been struck off by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.

He fraudulently obtained the money in a bid to keep his struggling law firm from going under. However, following his arrest by HMRC he was disqualified from being a director for six years.

During an investigation it was discovered that Mr Virdee falsified the consideration figures on 36 stamp duty forms underpaying the tax by £312,000 over a four year period (2012-2016).

After HMRC raised enquiries on four transactions, Mr Virdee took money from other clients account and paid £45,000.

Although Mr Virdee was absent from the tribunal, he had previously spoken to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) that he took the money because:

“He wanted his business to survive and that people’s livelihoods depended on it.”

Mr Virdee was also found in breach of the accounts rules by creating a shortage on client account by making a number of round-sum transfers in excess of the invoices, while he failed to comply with his obligations as the COFA by not self-reporting to the SRA.

The tribunal commented:

“His misconduct was deliberate, calculated, repeated and had continued over a significant period of time. He had concealed his conduct from those with whom he worked.

“When initially contacted by HMRC, he explained to his colleagues and to HMRC that the shortage in the payments had been made in error when he knew that was not the case.”

Mr Virdee was also ordered to pay costs of £21,752.

This article was originally published on Legal Futures.

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