In T&T: 200 Charges for fraud

4 November 2011


Bogus companies, submitting false returns…sounds like a movie to me! Three public servants face more than 60 charges.

WARRANTS have been issued for the arrest of three senior public servants on charges that they defrauded the Board of Inland Revenue (BIR) of more than $.6 million.

One of the officials is currently on suspension and has similar matters before the Port of Spain Magistrates’ Court.

Also charged with the three public officials is a shop operator, who has been listed as a director of one of six bogus companies set up to extract more than $600,000 in VAT returns from the BIR.

The bogus companies are all from California, central Trinidad.

The three public servants— among them a man and wife from different ministries, and the shop owner, have all been slapped with more than 68 charges each.

The accused have been charged with failing to comply with a notice given by the BIR to supply the books and records (to substantiate the claims submitted) of the six companies as requested by the BIR under section 51 (2) b of the VAT Act.

They were also charged with submitting false and/or misleading returns to the BIR. The charges carry a maximum fine of $15,000 or two years imprisonment.

The charges were laid against the companies, its directors and secretaries, by officials at the Criminal Tax Investigations Unit (CIU) of the Inland Revenue Division of the Ministry of Finance. In most of the companies, the director was listed as the secretary.

More than 200 warrants in relation to the charges have been obtained and are to be executed on the four accused who are expected to surrender themselves to police officers at the tax investigations unit next week.

The accused were granted a total of $3 million bail to cover all the charges.

The three public servants have been slapped with in excess of 60 charges each regarding their involvement in the alleged scheme, while the shop owner has to answer six charges. He was listed as a director at one of the companies.

The alleged offences are said to have occurred between 2008 and 2010, the information which was laid at the Port of Spain Magistrates’ Court on June 29, states.

Even though the accused would have obtained in excess of $600,000, the tax laws do not cater for charges of theft and obtaining money under false pretenses to be laid against accused persons.

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