The second day of the Southwark Crown Court Trial of Michael and Doris Stainer (pictured below) saw HMRC’s Prosecuting Counsel Anthony Hucklesby present the jury with the key elements that make up the case for the prosecution.
As reported previously, the indictments relate to three cases of defrauding the public purse and misrepresentation, and Mr Hucklesby outlined the details of the evidence he will present. He explained that the alleged offences relate to the deduction of Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and National Insurance (NIC) from the employees of Kentish Estates Ltd and the Grand Folkestone Ltd between 2011 and 2015. These were the two companies trading at the Grand at that time and the Stainers were officers of those companies throughout that period. These also were the employers of up to sixty staff. These payroll deductions were not reported to HMRC as required, and were not paid over to HMRC. He stated that witnesses will testify that employees were assured that these payments had been, or would be made. This forms the heart of the misrepresentation indictment. The amounts in question across the three years and both companies totalled £473,097.07. These were calculated by HMRC using records confiscated from the Grand on July 23rd 2015, during an unannounced raid, which Mr Stainer described as a “fishing expedition“. These amounts were not disputed by Counsel for Mr Stainer. Written evidence was heard from three HMRC officers who took part in a January 2015 visit to the Grand, when Mr and Mrs Stainer were interviewed and denied that they were responsible for the management of these companies. Further written evidence related to the July 23rd 2015 raid – the fishing expedition – when papers and digital files and storage devices were seized and the Stainers arrested and later bailed. Mr Hucklesby posed two questions that the jury would need to consider, given that the facts were not in dispute:
1 – Was the non-payment of these amounts the result of dishonesty?
2 – Did Doris Stainer have anything to do with this? He also revealed that evidence derived from the company bank statements in the UK, showed that some £250,000 was transferred to Mrs Stainer’s bank account in Germany in this same period. He added that the Stainers also derived substantial income from their seventeen holiday flats, whose combined value was over £4.5 million. Notwithstanding this, Mr Stainer continued, when interviewed in 2015 and in correspondence, to claim that the companies could not afford to make any payments as business was bad, and that it was better to withhold these payments and keep his employees in work, rather than see them as a charge on the public purse in a town with high unemployment. The case continues.
The Shepway Vox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime