A former legal representative has been jailed for two years and eight months for hiding his earnings from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and failing to pay around a quarter of a million pounds in tax and National Insurance Contributions.

Godofredo D’alpoim Guedes, 63, failed to declare the income he received acting as an accredited legal adviser to people in police custody in London and the South East. He also fraudulently charged his clients VAT, using a VAT number which had been de-registered in 2004 when he was made bankrupt.

John Cooper, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:

“Guedes worked in a position of trust and should have known better than to commit tax fraud. He tried to avoid paying his fair share at the expense of honest UK taxpayers and is now paying the price for his criminal actions.

“If you know of anyone who is committing tax fraud you can report them by calling our 24-hour Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

HMRC uncovered the fraud after officers carried out a compliance visit on another company. They discovered the company had used Guedes as a legal adviser and officers found invoices which showed he was using a de-registered VAT number. Guedes subsequently filed for bankruptcy, for a third time, in February 2013.

An investigation into his financial affairs revealed that between 2006 and 2013, around £800,000 had been deposited into his bank account. He defrauded £247,000 by not paying £131,359.99 in Income Tax and £18,968.84 in National Insurance, and pocketed £96,699.78 in VAT payments from his clients.

On 13 October 2015 Guedes pleaded guilty to tax fraud. He was jailed for two years and eight months at Isleworth Crown Court on Tuesday 19 January 2016.

Mr Recorder P Clark, said:

“You fraudulently received public money meant for the administration of public services. You knew that the harder you worked, the more money you would receive and the more you could dishonestly retain.” Adding that Guedes’ actions had been “thoroughly dishonest and disgraceful”.