Solicitor jailed for VAT fraud
A Southport solicitor, who
pocketed £196,000 in VAT over 8 years of working on the Northern
court circuit, was jailed last week.
Robert Walter Osman, 64, a self-employed barrister from Birkdale,
Southport was suspended from the bar following bankruptcy and ceased
practising in 2011. During the bankruptcy proceedings HM Revenue &
Customs (HMRC) investigators discovered Osman had failed to account
for VAT he charged his customers.
Mike O’Grady Assistant Director Criminal Investigation, HMRC said:-
“HMRC officers identified that Osman charged his customers VAT
but never paid the money over to the Revenue. He simply pocketed the
cash for his own personal gain, enhancing his lifestyle.
Tax fraud and attempts to launder the proceeds of crime are treated
extremely seriously by HMRC, and we will pursue any individuals or
crime gangs believed to be attacking the public revenue in this
Osman was jailed for 12 months at Leeds Crown Court on Wednesday, 19
September 2012, by His Honour Judge Ibbotson. Osman pleaded guilty on his
first appearance at Crown Court. He had previously appeared at
Liverpool Magistrates on a charge of fraudulently evading the
payment of value added tax, to the value of £196,000, between
January 2003 to February 2011.
Help for flood-hit homes
HOMES in West Derby,
Merseyside, which have been hit by flash floods in previous years
are being given extra protection this week. The City Council
obtained a £200,000 grant from the Environment Agency to carry out
flood protection measures at approximately 50 houses in Crawford
Close, Leyfield Road, Leyfield Close, Churchdown Road and Churchdown
Grove. The work on protecting the houses was under way before this
week’s heavy rainfall. Floods hit the homes in the summer of 2010
and some of the houses had been hit previously by floods. Work,
carried out by contractor Whitehouse, involves the fitting of flood
protection doors, the installation of storm porches and “smart” air
bricks. There will also be some repointing and the sealing of pipes
and cable entry points. Local MP Stephen Twigg will be viewing the
work this week. He said:- “I am very pleased that action is
being taken to give reassurance to occupiers that their houses are
protected against flooding which can be devastating. While we can’t
prevent flooding entirely, we can reduce the dangers through
partners working together and with the people most at risk to
minimise its effects and reduce the damage it causes.”
Councillor Steve Munby, cabinet member for
neighbourhoods said:- “The heavy rain this week, with the
resulting problems, has underlined the importance of this work.
People in this area have been hit by flooding on a number of
occasions so we are trying to do what we can to help those in areas
where the risk of flooding is greatest. Floods can happen anywhere
at anytime because of rising ground water levels, burst water drains
and run-off from sudden rain. We have had exceptionally high levels
of rainfall this year and increasingly severe and frequent
rainstorms mean the risk of floods will increase. It is difficult to
predict and pinpoint when surface water flooding , which happens
when heavy rainfall overwhelms the drains capacity in a local area,
will hit but we can be prepared in those areas which experience has
shown are most at risk."
Fatigue sufferers ignored by trusts
IN England more than 33% of Primary Care
Trusts (PCTs) either don’t commission specialist services for M.E./CFS
patients or cannot confirm they do. In Scotland, Wales and Northern
Ireland provision is far worse.
Action for M.E., the UK’s leading charity for people with Myalgic
Encephalomyelitis (M.E.), has produced a damning report, Ignorance,
injustice and neglect, about NHS specialist services for people with
It is based on the results of Freedom of Information Act requests to
all Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) in England, Health Boards in Scotland
and Wales and Health and Social Care Boards in Northern Ireland and
crucially uses the NHS’s own statistics to expose failings.
M.E., also known as Chronicle Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), is a chronic,
fluctuating neurological illness affecting, to varying degrees, an
estimated 250,000 in the UK.
Less than 25% of PCTs commission specialist care in the home for
those M.E. patients who are too disabled to travel.
Only 10% of PCTs could provide information on the numbers of
children with M.E. that are treated in their patient population.
National standards and clinical guidelines are being ignored.
Action for M.E. Chief Executive, Sir Peter Spencer, said:-
“These figures are a disgraceful indictment of institutionalised
discrimination and neglect. Health Services in all of the four home
nations are still not even beginning to address the needs of this
vulnerable patient group properly.
Rhetoric and prevarication from Ministers is simply not good enough.
We need action now to put this right once and for all.”
As part of its Time for Action campaign, Action for M.E. is
demanding the following:-
► In England, the Secretary of State for Health should take
responsibility for ensuring that the care commissioning process in
the UK is done properly for M.E./CFS specialist services.
► As local commissioning has so evidently failed this patient group,
special arrangements should be made by the new NHS Commissioning
Board. The outcomes of these arrangements should be periodically
audited to check compliance.
► In Scotland and Wales, Governments should provide ring fenced
additional start up funding immediately to implement the national
plans they have already drawn up and make proper provision for full
scale services as soon as possible.
► The Northern Ireland Government should accept this report as another
wake up call to engage with the patient groups and clinicians as a
matter of greater urgency.
► At the local level, members of national Parliaments and Assemblies,
together with elected representatives in local Government should
examine the information provided from their areas and hold to
account those organisations that are failing their M.E./CFS patients