High flying tax fraudster is brought down to earth with a bump

A tax fraudster, who used stolen VAT money to pay for flying lessons, has had his wings clipped after his lies finally caught up with him and he was jailed for four and a half years.

Thirty-nine-year-old Keiran Farrer from Carlisle, had repeatedly tried to deceive both HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Farrer set up a sham car hire and leasing business, falsely telling HMRC that he had spent in excess of £2million on vehicles and supplies for his company, for which he claimed £260,364 in VAT repayments.

However, when tax investigators delved into his business affairs they found that he had not purchased a single vehicle and had instead spent the stolen VAT on acquiring his private pilot’s licence.

During the same period, Farrer had also dishonestly claimed £41,095 in disability living allowance after falsely stating that he had difficulty walking more than 1.5 metres.

Following his arrest, the tax and benefits fraudster was discovered to have 22 prior criminal convictions and was already serving a suspended prison sentence.

Paul Maybury, Assistant Director with HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, said: “Farrer’s level of dishonesty is truly shocking and inexcusable. He thought theft and fraud was an acceptable way of life despite his numerous convictions. Now his incessant deceit has landed him behind bars.”

Dr Anjulika Salhan, a director and tax investigation specialist with Salhan Accountants commented: “If fraud is suspected, taxation investigators have wide ranging powers and will often work with other agencies such as the DWP to build a picture of an individual’s financial history, highlighting any anomalies such as fraudulent claims and a failure to declare earnings.

“In such circumstances, where a person has deliberately set out to commit tax fraud, HMRC will not hesitate to prosecute.

“Although only a minority of individuals intentionally set out to defraud HMRC, there are many people who find that they have unwittingly broken HMRC’s tax rules and are shocked to discover that they are under the spotlight of a tax investigation.

“At Salhan Accountants, we work extremely hard for clients subjected to a taxation investigation. We not only clarify the issues and the process, but come up with solutions too.”

For more information about our taxation investigation services, please contact us.