A professional tax adviser was jailed for four years yesterday for his part in a £70m fraud involving donating shares to charity.
Roy Faichney, former managing director of Vantis Tax Ltd, was sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court in London for his part in a scheme that involved advising 600 wealthy clients to buy shares, worth a few pence each, in four new companies set up by him and his deputy, David Perrin.
The companies were listed on the Channel Islands Stock Exchange and the shares were repeatedly bought and sold to inflate their price to up to £1 each.
The share owners then donated 329 million shares to a group of innocent charities and tried to illegally claim £70m of tax relief on a total of £213m of income and company profits.
This was based on the shares being worth £1 each, when they were still worth only a few pence.
Faichney was found guilty of cheating the revenue by dishonestly submitting and dishonestly facilitating and inducing others to submit claims for tax relief that falsely stated values of shares that were gifted to charities.
He and Perrin, who in February was sentenced to 18 months in prison for his part in the scam, made £4.5m from the scheme.
A statement from HM Revenue & Customs said the Vantis employees performed a celebratory song at their annual conference, to the tune of Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive, which included the verse: "They should have changed that stupid law, they should have buggered charity, but they have left that lovely tax relief, for folks to pay to me."
This was the second time Faichney, 54, of Barnhill in Pinner, Middlesex, had stood trial on this charge. No decision could be reached when he was tried jointly with Perrin in January.
Jenny Crutchfield, an investigator at HMRC Criminal Investigations, said in a statement that Faichney had "callously abused a tax relief designed to benefit charities".
Earlier this year, the Court of Appeal found that Perrin’s sentence had been unduly lenient and stated that the starting point for a case such as this should be seven years in prison. However, because of Perrin’s ill health it did not alter the 18-month sentence he received.