Northern Ireland

Belfast doctor Francis Gerard D'Arcy fined £230,000 for tax fraud

Laganside Courthouse Belfast
Image caption Last month, D'Arcy admitted four counts of tax fraud at Belfast Crown Court

A former leading specialist doctor who cheated the public revenue out of £459,000, has been given a two-year suspended jail sentence.

Francis Gerard D'Arcy, of the Malone Road in south Belfast, has also been fined £230,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,000.

He used the bank accounts of his four children to hide earnings from HM Revenue and Customs.

Last month, D'Arcy admitted four counts of tax fraud at Belfast Crown Court.

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.

The court was told that D'Arcy would ring up solicitors he acted for in deafness claims and ask them to re-issue him with uncrossed cheques for his services.

The cheques were made out to "Dr D'Arcy" and the cheques would then be paid into the accounts of his four children who were all doctors by profession.

The judge was told the that two of the children now lived in the Republic of Ireland and a further two lived in Australia.

Asked by the judge if D'Arcy's offending was through maladministration or if it was a deliberate act by D'Arcy, a prosecutor replied: "He has pleaded guilty to cheating the public revenue.

"If it was simply a matter of maladministration, it would have been a civil action. However, there is nothing wrong in putting money into your children's accounts.''

The judge said it was "incapable of belief'' that D'Arcy's offending was down to "maladministration'', saying that all the consultant had to do was to lodge the cheque into his south Belfast bank and put the letter from the solicitor into a cardboard box.

"A cardboard box is not hard to get. And at the end of the tax year, he can either do his returns himself or give the cardboard box over to an accountant,'' added the judge.

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

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

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