Northern Ireland

Francis D'Arcy: specialist doctor 'cheated HMRC out of half-a-million pounds'

A former leading specialist doctor cheated the public revenue out of half-a-million pounds, a court heard today.

Francis Gerard D'Arcy, of the Malone Road in south Belfast, used the bank accounts of his four children to hide earnings from HM Revenue and Customs.

Mr D'Arcy pleaded guilty to four counts of tax fraud at Belfast Crown Court last month.

The 73-year-old was one of Northern Ireland's leading specialists in deafness claims by police and soldiers.

He admitted cheating on his taxes between 2008 and 2012 while acting as a consultant working on hundreds of deafness claims.

He asked solicitors to give him uncrossed cheques to enable him to cash them without having to pay tax on his earnings, the court heard.

Accounts

A prosecutor said Mr D'Arcy had been an ear, nose and throat surgeon in the National Health Service before retiring and moving into private work, providing legal reports for civil actions.

He added that during the four years he carried out this work, Mr D'Arcy had failed to file any tax returns on his work with private clients at his practice, amounting to nearly £459,000 in unpaid tax.

The court was told that the consultant saw between 35 and 40 patients each week, receiving on average around £250 for each patient.

A prosecutor said: "When the matter was investigated, it was clear he did not keep proper accounts or records for this period of his income.

"During interviews with police, he admitted in accepting uncrossed cheques from others."

Mr D'Arcy has 48 years of medical experience and most recently practiced at Belfast's Mater Hospital on the Crumlin Road.

Problems

The court heard that the cash had been repaid in full, including interest and penalties.

However, the prosecution is seeking to recover £5,800 from Mr D'Arcy for the costs of the case.

A defence lawyer urged the judge not to impose an immediate custodial sentence, saying Mr D'Arcy suffered from "significant medical problems".

The judge said he would sentence Mr D'Arcy next week and released him on continuing bail.

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