A London mortgage broker who evaded almost £115,000 in corporation tax by lying about his company profits has been sentenced for tax and mortgage fraud.
Asim Hussain, 42, director of Lifestyle Mortgages (Middlesex) Ltd, diverted company income into other bank accounts to reduce the profits of his company and pay less corporation tax.
Hussain then spent the money to finance a property in Dubai, overpay on his mortgage and buy land as an investment.
He was sentenced after a joint investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)
Gary Forbes, assistant director, criminal investigation at HMRC, said Hussain seemed to believe he could act above the law and that by simply moving money between bank accounts he would stay off HMRC’s radar.
“Instead, he has learned the hard way that crime does not pay. He now has a criminal record and his reputation and career are in tatters."
DC Philip Palmer, MPS, said the sentencing should send a strong message to the financial and banking community that mortgage fraud and tax cheating will not go unpunished. “Every penny that Hussain evaded increased the tax burden on law-abiding citizens and deprived government revenue."
The case was referred to HMRC and MPS by the Financial Conduct Authority’s predecessor, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) when Hussain trading as Lifestyle Mortgages (Ealing), was struck off as a mortgage advisor and banned from the financial services industry.
The FSA became suspicious when a lender highlighted its concerns regarding discrepancies in relation to mortgage applications submitted by Hussain, which were based on false and misleading information.
Georgina Philippou, acting director of enforcement and market oversight at the Financial Conduct Authority, said:
"This is a very serious offence and this sentencing demonstrates that any attempt to abuse the system will not be taken lightly. It is an excellent example of the authorities working together to tackle an individual who put lenders and consumers at risk."
Hussain was found guilty of falsifying mortgage applicants’ income and employment details and at a separate hearing pleaded guilty to cheating HMRC.
HMRC are pursuing the £115,000 of corporation tax owed. Confiscation proceedings have started by the MPS to recover criminal profits.
Hussain was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 240 hours of community service.