independent

Thursday 24 April 2014

Man admits to €20k tax fraud

A 26-YEAR-OLD man "with a need to please" fraudulently gained almost €20,000 after he agreed to help a number of people manage their tax credits online, a court has heard.









Alan McNamara with an address at Broadford Hill Ballinteer, Dublin 16 has pleaded guilty to charges under the Taxes Consolidation Act and is to be sentenced in April.



Judge John O'Neill heard at Dublin District Court that the young man faced 29 counts and the prosecution was proceeding with five sample charges. He had been found to have a “need to please” other people and helped seven individuals manage their tax affairs through Revenue's online “PAYE Anytime” system. However, the court heard he was overcome with temptation and diverted their credits to his bank account between February 2009 and May the following year.



Tax inspector Fiona Phelan agreed that McNamara had been asked by a number of people to help operate them their tax affairs online.



They gave him their details and PINs which would allow them claim credits such as health, rent and income continuance relief.



However, McNamara later changed their PAYE Anytime profiles so tax credits would be directed into his bank account instead.



The tax inspector agreed with prosecution solicitor Alan McGill that McNamara was later questioned and admitted that he claimed income tax credits totalling €19,879 without the consent of the seven people.



He also made further claims under his own tax profile on the PAYE Anytime system for about €3,400 in health relief for medical expenses which he also received. However Ms Phelan said it was established that he did not have any medical illness.



She also said that when she questioned him about the claims he told her that “he was moving house and needed money to pay his solicitor's expenses”.



The tax inspector agreed with defence solicitor Peter Connolly that he was co-operative and regretted making the claims.



Mr Connolly asked the court to note that McNamara was remorseful, had no prior criminal convictions, had pleaded guilty and had co-operated with Revenue's investigation. He also said that the man had paid back the €19,879.



In relation to the €3,400 he claimed for medical expenses in his own name, that will be recouped by Revenue through a reduction in his tax credits for the next three years, the court heard.



The offence can result in fines of up to €5,000 or a maximum jail sentence of one year.



Mr Connolly said a psychological report on his client showed that he had “a slight issue around the need to please people.”



He had begun to assist the seven individuals in managing their tax affairs and “started out in good faith”, however, “temptation got the better of him”.



Pleading with the judge not to jail McNamara, Mr Connolly said his client is gainfully employed, earns €400 a week after tax and was willing to do community service.



Judge O'Neill said it was a serious matter and it was difficult to reconcile the testimonials about McNamara with the facts of the case. “His behaviour was systematic, it was a catalogue of unlawful acts,” the judge added.



He adjourned sentencing until a date in April to allow time for a probation report to be prepared.







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