Anthony Maragh, 57, from Harrow, falsified the value of his clients’ properties on paperwork to make them appear lower, meaning the amount of tax owed was reduced. However, Maragh charged his clients the full amount and pocketed the difference.
Between 2003 and 2013, the fraudster under-declared Stamp Duty due on 43 property transactions, transferring £297,000 directly from the solicitor’s company accounts into his own personal bank account. Maragh also splashed out on collectable antique Chinese gold bonds using £55,000 from the company’s client account.
Sentencing the defendant at the Old Bailey, Honour Judge Poulet said: “This was repeated offending and an abuse of position and trust with a large number of victims exposed to risk.”
HMRC said confiscation proceedings are underway.
Martin Brown, assistant director at HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, added: “As a conveyancer, Maragh knew only too well that he was breaking the law and what the consequences of his actions would be. He abused the trust of his clients, stealing money that had been paid by them in good faith to meet their tax liabilities, to line his own pockets.
“Maragh thought that his scheme would go undetected, but he was wrong and is now behind bars with his reputation and career in tatters.”