Nursery boss convicted of near £1m tax fraud

Michael Scott was convicted of fraud
Michael Scott was convicted of fraud

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THE owner of a children’s nursery has been found guilty of a near £1m tax and national insurance fraud.

Jurors convicted Michael Scott, 63, director at Pixies Day Nursery in Locks Heath, after a four-week trial at Southampton Crown Court.

You’ve stuck two fingers up to the taxman. Is it any wonder we’re being investigated you stupid, stupid man.

Email sent to Michael Scott

HM Revenue and Customs prosecuted Scott, of Grovebury, Locks Heath, after first launching a civil inquiry into Mr Scott’s personal and financial affairs.

But eventually it came to light around £945,000 of tax and national insurance had not been paid and a criminal investigation was launched.

Jurors heard that Scott believed cash had been paid to HMRC but had been misallocated.

Staff who were applying for Jobseekers’ Allowance were unable to do so due to HMRC not receiving payments.

Scott was found guilty of abusing his position as an employer in which he was expected to safeguard the financial interests of his employees, or HMRC, by failing to account for National Insurance contributions or Pay as You Earn payments.

The offence happened between April 2007 and November 2011.

Scott’s former wife, Marina Scott, 60, also of Grovebury, was charged with failing to disclose that National Insurance contributions or Pay as You Earn payments on behalf of staff had not been accounted for.

But she was acquitted of the charge last week.

Earlier in the trial prosecutor Robin Leach read out an email from Mrs Scott to Mr Scott.

It said: ‘You’ve stuck two fingers up to the taxman. Is it any wonder we’re being investigated you stupid, stupid man.’

Judge Peter Henry remanded Mr Scott into custody to sentence him tomorrow.