Edmund Burge Q.C. and Nicholas Jones successfully prosecute three company directors who systematically cheated HMRC of nearly £3m in VAT, PAYE and NICs.
Three dishonest company directors who cheated HMRC of nearly £3m in VAT, PAYE and NICs have been jailed at Southwark Crown Court. Gareth Onions, David Webb and Glenn Delaney pleaded guilty on day 3 of their 8-week trial.
All three had been directors of a series of companies which between 2004 and 2013 had successively traded as 'The Brand Company', a field marketing business based in Solihull, West Midlands. A lengthy joint investigation by the Insolvency Service and HMRC established that, using the pre-pack insolvency process, each company had entered administration owing large sums of unpaid taxes to HMRC. Each insolvency was replaced by a 'phoenix' company, which continued the business of The Brand Company under a new corporate identity. Onions and Webb had previously been disqualified from acting as company directors, and had persuaded Delaney to act as their proxy whilst they continued to exert overall day-to-day executive control over the business.
Much of the £2.6m loss to the Revenue was used to pay Onions and Webb substantial salaries, perks and other benefits, which the companies could not otherwise have afforded. In addition to Cheating the Revenue and acting as directors whilst disqualified, Onions and Webb pleaded guilty to laundering the proceeds of their Cheats. Onions was sentenced to 5 years 6 months imprisonment and banned from acting as a director for a further 7 years. Webb was jailed for 4 years 2 months and disqualified for 5 years, and Delaney received a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years, He was also disqualified for 5 years.