Call centre boss and accountant jailed in £2.3m tax fraud

The director of a Basingstoke call centre business and an accountant have been jailed for a total of seven and a half years after an investigation into a £2.3m income tax, national insurance and VAT fraud

HMRC found that David Buckley, 51, stole PAYE deductions from employees and VAT while he was the managing director of Compensation Professionals Network Ltd between 2008 and 2012, which resulted in tax evasion totalling £2.3m from failure to pay VAT and PAYE liabilities.

The call centre employed around 100 people to buy and sell leads for personal injury and PPI claims.

Buckley was made a director of the company in 2009 and subsequently hired Swansea-based accountant Mahmood Sadiq Poptani, 60, in 2011.

Investigators found that instead of paying the taxes due, Buckley bought shares in other businesses and propped up his own failing company. Poptani played a crucial role in the illegal movement of money from Compensation Professionals Network Ltd and sent £453,000 overseas.

Between 18 April 2011 and 28 February 2012, Poptani concealed, disguised, converted and transferred criminal property, namely monies which he knew should have been paid to HMRC in respect CPN Ltd, by means of bank transfers into accounts controlled by him.

Compensation Professionals Network Ltd went into liquidation in 2013 and Buckley and Poptani were arrested in November 2015. They went on trial at Winchester Crown Court on 15 July 2019.

On the second day of their trial Buckley pleaded guilty to one count of the fraudulent evasion of VAT and two counts of the fraudulent evasion of income tax. Poptani pleaded guilty to one count of concealing criminal property.

They were sentenced at the same court on 25 July 2019. Buckley was jailed for four years and 11 months and Poptani was jailed for two years and eight months.

Daren Cooley, assistant director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: ‘HMRC is committed to ensuring all companies and individuals pay the right tax at the right time and we will pursue those who fail to do so.

‘We used our criminal powers to uncover Buckley’s significant failure as a managing director. He knew what was owed and when.

‘Buckley and Poptani are now paying the price for their dishonesty with a spell in prison. If you know of anyone committing any type of tax fraud, report them to HMRC online or call our fraud hotline on 0800 788 887.’

Sara White | 29 July 2019

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