Charalambous is believed to have claimed about £10 million over a decade fraudulently by escalating his clients’ expenses and then taking a cut of the tax repayments.
He fabricated expenses in over 6,000 client tax returns.
The disgraced accountant also evaded paying £807,406 on his personal tax returns by failing to declare all of his income between 1997 and 2008 and attempted to evade £180,000 in VAT by not registering his company for VAT purposes since 2000.
Blackfriars Crown Court heard how Charalambous would submit tax returns to HMRC without his clients seeing what information he was including.
He would then receive the tax repayments, deduct a 15% fee and hand out the remainder to the client.
Many of these clients had moved abroad and had a minimal understanding of the UK tax system.
The trial lasted 7 weeks and eventually Charalambous was found guilty of 6 counts of cheating the public purse and handed a prison sentence of 8 years.
Judge Richardson said:-
“The offences are more serious as you were a chartered accountant. HMRC ought to be able to trust you as should your clients. You exposed them to the dishonesty that you practice. With tax enquiries, you responded with evasion and lies.”
Although Charalambous had previously been a chartered accountant, he was excluded from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in 2005 for failing to co-operate with the Inland Revenue.
A spokesman for HMRC released the following statement:-
“Charalambous is a thoroughly dishonest accountant who was motivated by greed. He betrayed the trust of innocent and vulnerable people to feed that greed.
This deprived the nation’s public services of millions of pounds. Our aim is to pursue and prosecute those involved in this type of criminal activity and reclaim the proceeds of their crime.”
A Confiscation Order is currently being pursued in an attempt to claw back the missing millions.