A tax adviser and accountant to the media industry has been jailed for five years for evading more than £6 million in tax.
Denis Christopher Carter Lunn ran a Sussex-based accountancy firm, Christopher Lunn & Co, whose 7,000-plus clients included many from the media and entertainment worlds.
The firm was investigated by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and in 2010 the premises in Crowborough were searched and Lunn was arrested. HMRC uncovered evidence of a range of serious offences, which included the inflating of accountancy fees and the fraudulent use of trading losses – all intended to help Lunn and his clients evade paying their fair share of tax.
After five years of detailed investigation, Lunn was convicted at Southwark Crown Court in December 2015, where a jury found him guilty of four counts of Cheating the Public Revenue.
Jennie Granger, Director General, Enforcement and Compliance, HMRC said:
“Lunn believed he could make up fraudulent claims to benefit both himself and his clients. Hard work from HMRC officers across the department proved him wrong. This long-running investigation has already recovered £20m as Lunn’s former clients settle their tax liabilities, with more to come.
“I hope this result serves as a reminder to those who try to cheat the public purse – particularly those in the tax profession – that no one is above the law and that HMRC will relentlessly pursue tax evaders to bring them before the courts.”
HMRC has now started confiscation proceedings to strip Lunn of any financial gain he made as a result of his criminal activity.
As Lunn’s clients were unaware of his actions, they have been offered a chance to put things right for themselves by paying any tax and interest due. Any client who has not yet come forward pending the outcome of the trial is encouraged to speak to HMRC to bring their affairs up to date as many of his clients have already done. Civil investigations into Lunn’s clients have so far recovered more than £20m, with a projected £40m expected when all clients have settled.
Lunn’s son, Christopher Jonathan Lunn (Jon), who also worked at the firm, was convicted in December 2014 on six counts under the Fraud Act, after he had sent false invoices to HMRC to try to cover up the fraud in the practice.
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