A professional tax adviser has been convicted of a £70m tax fraud that involved donating shares to charities at many times their true value and collecting Gift Aid on the donations.
David Perrin, 46, of Leagrave, Luton, a senior tax expert at the accountancy firm Vantis, encouraged 600 wealthy clients to donate shares that he claimed were worth £213m to charity, with the intention of claiming £70m in tax relief.
However, the shares were in four companies that he had listed on the Channel Islands Stock Exchange, which had had their value artificially inflated and were in reality worth only a few pence.
Perrin was found guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court of dishonestly submitting, facilitating and inducing others to submit claims for tax relief. He will be sentenced on 9 February.
The scheme involved clients paying a few pence for a share that would then have its value artificially inflated through a process known as share ramping. They would then donate the share to charity at its new higher value and claim tax relief of considerably more than the amount they originally paid. Charities that received the donated shares would later discover that they were unable to sell the stock at its listed price. Perrin made about £2m in fees paid by clients caught up in the scam.
No verdict has yet been reached on Perrin’s co-defendant, Roy Faichney, 53, of Pinner, also a Vantis tax expert. The two men’s wives and another tax adviser were found not guilty.
Jim Graham, a criminal investigator with HM Revenue & Customs, said: "With his knowledge of the tax system, Perrin thought that he was one step ahead of both HMRC and the law.
"This cynical fraud not only stole millions of pounds from taxpayers, but also conned innocent charities into accepting gifts of virtually worthless shares, just so Perrin could inflate his own criminal earnings."