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Tax cheats caught red-handed, told to repay £1.2m to HMRC

Bad news for 14 individuals after they were caught red-handed in a tax fraud scheme, as they’re now on the hook for repaying £1.2 million to the taxman.

Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs is hopping mad after it was discovered that one of their own helped divert PAYE funds away from their rightful places and instead into the pockets of himself and his 13 criminal comrades. Michael Kitchen, a formal HMRC officer, several of Kitchen’s friends, and five of his family members including his sister Stephanie Gough, were all found guilty of tax fraud, after it was found that Kitchen diverted funds away from nearly 160 PAYE payments to his co-defendants’ tax accounts.

Each defendant is now responsible for their share of the total amount embezzled from the taxman’s coffers. While some were lucky enough to be slapped with a fine and sentenced to complete community work, some, like Kitchen himself, now face jail time. The former HMRC employee has until May 2012 to repay £175,000 and must also serve a six year prison term after being found guilty for perverting the court of justice and cheating the public revenue.

HMRC internal governance official, Ian Horridge, condemned Kitchen’s abuse of his power in perpetrating the tax fraud. The taxman takes such offences committed by its own officials with the utmost of seriousness, leading HMRC to prosecute anyone found accused of tax fraud to the highest extent of the law, especially those who have been trusted by the Treasury to be honest and forthright, Mr Horridge added.

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