David Stewardson, the owner of Westcoast Group Security, has pled guilty to claims of Tax Fraud in a hearing at Edinburgh’s Sheriff Court.
Stewardson admitted that the security firm committed more than £1m tax fraud; and that over the last four and half years he unlawfully claimed £14,000 in benefits:
Stewardson was caught out by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) when he was unable to produce details on any payments for National Insurance (NI) and VAT.
Suspicions first arose when Stewardson’s personal bank account began receiving large sums of money, which was always withdrawn as cash.
Isabel Clark, from the DWP, said:
“At no time did he declare he was employed or operating the business and earning a turnover of £3m. The accused does not have any assets that have been found.”
Defending the tax fraud, David Blair-Wilson, Stewardson’s lawyer, told the court that Stewardson was fronting the company for some-one who was now bankrupt and had been threatened to do so or he would face prosecution or gun fire.
The Sheriff Court was also told that Westcoast Group Security has two different previous owners.
Stewardson is said to have received a mere £600 a month to manage the Scottish security company, whilst living a modest life on a council estate.
Affected by diabetes and disabilities that provide him with ‘constant pain’, Blair-Wilson, said of his client:
“He is not a criminal mastermind. He lives in a council house, has never been on an abroad holiday and has a motability car.”
Edinburgh Sherriff Court has currently released Stewardson on bail and deferred his sentence until next month.
Kevin Kinsella Jnr, of Kinsella, said:
“By continuing to receive benefit payments and failing to declare to the DWP that he was fronting Westcoast Group Security, Stewardson has committed serious tax fraud.
“Ignoring to pay any VAT, NI andincome tax to HMRC on the company’s earnings, means he is now facing criminal prosecution and a possible lengthy prison sentence; personally through no fault but his own.”
If you have submitted a tax return to HMRC but failed to declare part of your income to lower your tax bill, or produced false invoices, this is tax fraud.
You should never go through a tax fraud investigation without strong, reliable representation against HMRC.
KinsellaTax staff consists of ex-HM Inspector of Taxes and ex-HM Custom and Excise Officers, fully experienced in HMRC investigations.
If you have been suspected of serious Tax Fraud, don’t put it off any longer. Call us now on 0800 471 4546 and speak to one of our tax enquiry experts.