A tax agent who abused his position to steal thousands from clients by banking tax repayments from HMRC for his personal use has been jailed for more than three years
Joseph Logue, 64, from Northampton, made self assessment repayment claims for his clients but kept the money for himself, an investigation by HMRC revealed.
The tax agent filed both genuine and fake self assessment returns on behalf of clients, but stole the repayments instead of passing them on, using the cash to buy alcohol and fund his lifestyle living in a hotel.
The claims totalled £107,000 and the bogus ones were made without his clients’ knowledge during a four-year fraud that ran from 2015 until 2019.
Logue admitted 35 charges of fraudulent evasion of income tax at Northampton Crown Court in February 2023. He was jailed for three years and nine months on 22 September 2023.
The fake information supplied by Logue had serious consequences for his clients. Some struggled to claim covid support and benefits as their tax returns falsely overstated their income, while others were questioned by HMRC for tax debt they did not owe.
His clients included a man who was on end-of-life care and has since died without seeing justice served. Logue’s victims did not know that their details had been used to commit fraud or were told by Logue that HMRC had not sent the repayment.
One client confronted Logue and went to his business premises to collect the repayment, only to find Logue had moved only hours earlier.
Nick Stone, operational lead in HMRC’s fraud investigation service, said: ‘Joseph Logue’s despicable behaviour has left a trail of destruction for victims who placed their trust in him and the professional services he was claiming to offer.
‘Some victims had money stolen they were genuinely entitled to claim. We are now working with the victims and relatives to correct tax records.
‘Tax agents hold a position of enormous trust and using clients’ details to steal money is a huge breach of that trust.
‘This sentence should serve as a warning to the minority of corrupt professionals who wrongly believe they can use their knowledge and position of trust to commit tax crime.
‘Anyone with information about suspected tax fraud can call the Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.’
Logue described himself as an accountant on a scarce page on LinkedIn and according to Companies House he has not been a director of any companies for nearly 20 years.