Solicitor jailed for SDLT theft
The former owner of a West London law firm has been jailed for three years and four months for SDLT theft.
An HMRC investigation has revealed that Manpreet Singh (formerly Munpreet Singh Virdee), the owner and director of Reemans Solicitors Ltd in Hounslow stole £380,000 by falsifying documents and submitting incorrect information to HMRC.
Isleworth Crown Court heard that Singh was effectively reducing the amount of duty due and pocketing the difference after filing 52 fraudulent SDLT returns to HMRC between 2010 and 2015. HMRC began investigating Singh’s tax affairs but he continued to submit false documents and returns in an effort to conceal his previous wrongdoings.
In a statement, Linda Hamilton of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service said:
“This was a deliberate and sustained attack on the tax system. Singh worked in a position of trust and thought it was acceptable to con his clients and steal taxpayers’ money.”
Singh has admitted to his crimes and was sentenced to three years and four months in prison. A further £127,000 is still to be repaid by Singh for the stolen SDLT with proceedings ongoing to recover the remaining amount.
Singh was struck off the roll by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal last year. He was also disqualified from being a company director for six years.