A solicitor who attempted to pocket £133,000 in a tax fraud by changing conveyancing documents and lying to his clients was jailed yesterday.
Timothy Thomas Rogers, 35, from Knottingley, owner of Rogers & Co Solicitors in Leeds, was caught by investigators from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) after they discovered discrepancies in property sales where he had acted as the conveyancing solicitor.
He pleaded guilty to two charges of cheating the public revenue and was sentenced to 21 months in prison at Leeds Crown Court.
Investigators found that Mr Rogers had altered legal documents to reduce the amount of stamp duty due on properties bought by his clients. However, he then charged them the full amount and simply pocketed the difference.
In an attempt to cover up the fraud, he submitted Land Registry documents showing the true purchase price for the properties. HMRC investigators uncovered eight property transactions in which the solicitor had defrauded his clients.
Mr Rogers submitted false VAT refund claims totalling more than £79,000 between April 2011 and June 2011. He was caught out when he refused to hand over the paperwork needed to support his claims.
Jo Tyler, assistant director, criminal investigation at HMRC said: “As a solicitor, Timothy Rogers knew only too well what the consequences of his actions would be. To abuse the trust of clients and employees was a despicable act, trying to steal money that had been paid by them in good faith to meet their tax liabilities.
“The sentence should serve as a reminder to those who hold positions of trust that the justice system takes a firm line on those who fall foul of the law.”