A barrister who failed to pass on his VAT to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has been jailed for tax fraud.
Edward Paul Agbaje, from London, has been jailed for 18 months after collecting £80,000 in tax but failing to pay it to HMRC over a seven year period.
Agbaje, who specialises in criminal law and practices in Gray's Inn, London, claimed in court to have gambled the proceeds.
He had been deregistered for VAT by HMRC in February 2005 after failing to submit complete VAT returns dating back to 1994.
This meant he was barred from trading above the VAT threshold, set at £58,000 in 2005.
However, Agbaje continued to trade, paying no VAT from 2 February 2005 to 17 March 2012.
He used his invalid VAT number on invoices during this period and collected more than £59,000 in VAT on fees from clients, pocketing the money rather than passing it on to the Revenue.
Agbaje had also failed to file income tax returns since 2007, resulting in a tax bill of £18,051.01.
HMRC assistant director, criminal investigation, Andrew Sackey, said: "As a barrister, Agbaje should have known better than to try to cheat the system.
"He thought he was above the law but HMRC will not stand by while criminals try to cheat the taxpayer.
"Declaring and paying VAT due is a legal requirement - not a lifestyle choice - so we are pleased that justice has been served."
HMRC discovered that Agbaje was continuing to trade during a routine VAT visit to his chambers, when it was found that he was using his old, de-registered VAT number on invoices.
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