AN Arima-based attorney has been ordered to pay almost half-a-million dollars in penalties to the Board of Inland Revenue for fraud.
On Friday, attorney Lal Krishna Doodnath, of Igneri Road, Valsayn, pleaded guilty to uttering a forged valuation report to the stamp duty division of the BIR when he appeared before San Fernando first court magistrate Debby Ann Bassaw.
Doodnath, who entered into plea deal discussions with the BIR, was fined $2,000 for uttering the forged valuation report. He will serve six months of hard labour if he fails to pay the fine. Doodnath was also ordered to pay the BIR, $258,750, which represents the amount of stamp duty he avoided paying and penalties of $233,750 on the amount of stamp duty owing from September 20, 2012-September 19, 2021.
The BIR was represented by its legal consultant Evans Welch, who told the magistrate that as part of the plea deal, the division was withdrawing the tax evasion charge against Doodnath and a relative, who was also charged with him, in exchange for his guilty plea and payment of the sums owed to the State.
Doodnath and the relative were accused of undervaluing a multi-million dollar property in Westmoorings to reduce the amount of stamp duty owed to the BIR from the purchase. The $6.2 million property at Regents Drive was fraudulently valued at $2.75 million, resulting in savings of over $250,000 in stamp duty.
Based on the fraudulent valuation, the stamp duty was valued at $112,000 when the correct amount should have been $370,750 if the true purchase price of the property had been submitted for assessment of stamp duty.
The offence occurred when Doodnath presented a fraudulent property valuation document at BIR's South regional office at Cipero Street, San Fernando, on September 20, 2012.
Investigations by criminal tax investigator Adesn Ramdeo revealed that the bogus valuation was prepared in the name of a non-existent company and valuator.
A charge against Doodnath’s company Regents Park Ltd was referred to the High Court.
Doodnath, his relative and his company were represented by Gilbert Peterson, SC, and Anil Maraj.