PHILIPSBURG–Remy Heavy Equipment and Septic N.V. and its two owners on Wednesday were convicted of tax fraud by the Court of First Instance.
In following the Prosecutor’s Office the Judge found it legally and convincingly proven that the company director Remy M. Lambert (69), and his wife Valerie P. Lambert-Carty (57), had deliberately filed incorrect profit tax reports between 2008 and 2011.
The Judge sentenced the defendants according to the Prosecutor’s demand. Remy Heavy Equipment was ordered to pay a NAf. 464,613 fine. The owners were sentenced to a suspended fine of NAf. 100,000, on two years’ probation.
Prosecutor Danny Hazejager stated the Tax Department had launched an investigation into the company’s accounts after it emerged that Remy had set its tax returns at “null” for the 2008-2011 period.
The investigations revealed that a large part of the company’s turnover was deposited on the suspects’ private bank accounts by cheque deposits. The Tax Office calculated an amount of more than NAf. 1.4 million in lost taxes.
“Only a very limited part of [the turnover – Ed] was subsequently deposited on the company account. That is a strange situation, but it is even more alarming that a large part of the privately received amounts were based on invoices which were not processed in the company bookkeeping.” In doing so the suspects had been playing with fire, the Prosecutor told the Court.
Lambert-Carty, who was responsible for the bookkeeping and the processing of tax reports, immediately confessed that mistakes were made. “Yes, mistakes were made but not intentionally. We tried to correct the situation, but unfortunately this not always happened,” she said in Court.
Her husband was not present at the hearing as he has severe health problems, lawyer Arthur van Aalst explained.
According to the Tax Office and the Prosecutor, the mistakes were so frequently made that it was considered proven that these must have been made intentionally.
The Head Administrator of Windward Roads, who was heard as a witness in the investigation, had stated that the Lamberts had insisted on payment by cheque instead of via bank transfers. Central Mix Concrete stated the same. A large-amount bank transfer by Devcon also went to the private account.
Attorney Van Aalst agreed that his clients had filed incorrect tax reports, “but not deliberately.” He said his clients had not set up any “shadowy structures,” and were only guilty of “clumsiness.”
The lawyer objected to the fact that his clients were not only subjected to an administrative fine by the Tax Office, but were now also suspects in a criminal case. He said his clients had filed for appeal against the fine, as this would unavoidably lead to bankruptcy.
After a half-hour recess the Judge said he found the defendants guilty as charged. He said the suspects deserved a penalty as society had been disadvantaged by a huge amount. To this effect, he sentenced the company to payment of a fine, equal to the one imposed by the Tax Department. The Lamberts both received conditional fines.
The Judge said the Prosecutor’s demand in this case was “not exactly draconian.” In the Casa Blanca case the same Prosecutor demanded NAf. 200,000 fines for the brothel’s owners and a NAf. 30,000 fine for Casa Blanca N.V, also for tax crimes.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/64459-heavy-equipment-convicted-of-tax-crimes