We reported in April on the case of the IT consultant who was found guilty of tax fraud between 1999 and 2008; today, we bring the grim news that he has received a custodial sentence of five years.

Mr Stephen Maxwell (aged 53) had made a lucrative living through his IT contracting business, working for several major City banks. In a dramatic reversal of fortune, the industry news source Shout99 reports that he is now behind bars.

Mr Maxwell had arranged for fees to be paid into companies registered in the Isle of Man and Gibraltar. He was, however, a hidden beneficiary. His income was subsequently paid to a company registered in the UK but from 2005 onwards it filed no tax returns.

Mr Maxwell had earned £2 million during the period under investigation by HMRC, but had not paid a penny of the estimated tax of £635,015.

The Assistant Director of Criminal Investigations at HMRC Scotland, David Odd, was forthright in his condemnation of Mr Maxwell’s tax conduct, stating: “This was a case of deliberate and systematic fraud. The tax system depends on people being honest but Maxwell consistently tried to conceal his income. Income tax fraud is not a victimless crime and HMRC take a very serious view of anyone who acts in this manner. We have robust procedures to identify abuse of our tax systems and are committed to pursuing any such fraud vigorously.”

Elsewhere in his life, Mr Maxwell had, however, behaved honourably; he had been hailed as hero for his efforts in rescuing fellow passengers during his involvement in the disastrous Cumbrian rail crash in 2007.

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