A conveyancing solicitor who falsified SDLT documents to pocket stamp duty payments intended for HMRC totalling £311,862 has been struck off by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
This is the final act in a drama which started in 2012 when solicitor Munpreet Singh Virdee, a now former director of Reemans Solicitors, began under-declaring stamp duty payments made to him by clients.
This continued until 2016. Virdee was later found to have doctored 36 forms in order to achieve the tax fraud, funds from which were used to prop up his ailing legal business, he admitted to investigators.
This meant Reemans only paid £196,123 in tax instead of the full £463,335 to HMRC.
But investigators finally caught up with him and Virdee was arrested two years ago and had to sell his home to pay back the stamp duty monies owed totalling approximately £225,000.
The 49-year-old was later disqualified from being a director of company for six years and his company liquidated.
Despite his contrition and repayment of the mis-appropriated funds, a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has now decided to strike off Virdee.
The tribunal said: “His misconduct was deliberate, calculated, repeated and had continued over a significant period of time. He had concealed his conduct from those with whom he worked.
“When initially contacted by HMRC, he explained to his colleagues and to HMRC that the shortage in the payments had been made in error when he knew that was not the case.”
“[Virdee] breached the trust placed in him by his clients to pay the full level of duty they owed; [he] was fully and solely responsible for his conduct and was an experienced solicitor whose misconduct arose from planned and deliberate acts.”