Fraudulent accountants Skinner and Rowley jailed

“Each of your families have suffered real hurt and humiliation as a result of your greed….They are now paying a very heavy price for your callousness,” Justice Kos Wellington tells accountants Barrie James Skinner and David Ingram Rowley today.

The two accountants were found guilty in late July on more than 80 charges each of tax avoidance, fraud and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Over the course of five years from September 2005, they sold a scheme to clients, which they said would "shelter" them from tax payments.

The scheme involved false invoices and a trail of "shell" entities for services which were never provided or, if they were, were provided at a value much lower than that recorded on the invoice.

The scheme cost the IRD between $1.8 million and $2.3 million dollars in lost tax – about $1.5 million of than is ‘uncollectable.’

Rowley has been sentenced to eight years in prison – six and a half years on the fraud charges, a concurrent two years for tax evasion and a cumulative 18 months on the attempting to pervert the course of justice charges.

Skinner has been sentenced to eight and a half years behind bars – seven years for the fraud charges, two and a half years concurrent for evasion charges and the 18-month cumulative sentence for attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Skinner’s lawyer Mike Lennard said his client had been destroyed by this process. He has been in the industry for 24 years, typically working 80 hours a week “at the expense of his personal life and his family life”.

He said in the past two years, his client has descended into utter financial ruin and disgrace and, having been recently bankrupted by the Wellington High Court, has nothing left.

Mr Lennard says he still has family support and the character references, some of which were sent to the court overnight, from his daughter Victoria and former and current wives “makes sad reading”.

“There are still clients who, after all that publicity, are standing by him and have good things to say.”

He said Skinner had already been through a substantial sentence over the past two years, during the course of the investigation, while watching a “prosperous and well-regarded practice” crumble.

He had worked tirelessly to prevent that, to no avail.

Rowley’s lawyer Mark Keating argued Rowley played a different role to Skinner and “only received 25% of the gains.”

Justice Kos told both Skinner and Rowley there were three groups of people their offending had hurt:

 

  • The taxpayer.
  • Their clients.
  • Their families.

He said their offending was deliberate and premeditated; it was extended over five years, it was sophisticated and it was repeated again and again.

Justice Kos said it caused substantial harm and loss and for those reasons he was unprepared to either increase or decrease his starting points of eight and a half years for Skinner and eight years imprisonment for Rowley.


UPDATED / 12.30pm:

Fraudulent Wellington accountants Barrie James Skinner and David Ingram Rowley have both been sent to prison.

Rowley has been sentenced in the Wellington High Court to eight years in prison – six and a half years on the fraud charges, a concurrent two years for tax evasion and a cumulative 18 months on the attempting to pervert the course of justice charges.

Skinner has been sentenced to eight and a half years behind bars – seven years for the fraud charges, two and a half years concurrent for evasion charges and the 18-month ciumulative sentence for attempting to pervert the course of justice.

In July, the pair was found guilty on more than 80 charges each of tax avoidance, fraud and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Over the course of five years, they sold a scheme to clients, which they said would "shelter" them from tax payments.

The scheme involved false invoices and a trail of "shell" entities for services which were never provided or, if they were, were provided at a value much lower than that recorded on the invoice.

In sentencing today, Justice Steven Kos said some of their clients were credulous but the vast majority were not aware of what was going on and some believed they were paying their tax through both Skinner and Rowley.

He said there is some disagreement between lawyers about the sum lost as a result of the offending.

The crown argues it was $2.3 million while the offenders' lawyers say it was $1.8 million.

"Either way, Mr Rowley benefited to the tune of $500,000 ,while Mr Skinner benefited to the tune of at least $1.3 million," Justice Kos said.

He said about $1.5 million of that remains uncollectable.

Rowley's lawyer Mark Keating argued his client played a lesser part in the scheme than Skinner and argued for a different approach to sentencing.

Rowley only received 25% of the gains. Skinner enjoyed three times the percuniary gain enjoyed by Mr Rowley.

"Skinner played the leading role – my client went along with that."


UPDATE / 11.10 am:  Accountants jailed

Barrie James Skinner was jailed this morning for a total of eight and a half years after being found guilty of fraud, tax evasion and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Co-offender David Ingram Rowley was jailed for a total of eight years on similar offences.

More soon.


Fraudulent Wellington accountants Barrie James Skinner and David Ingram Rowley are to be sentenced today for tax fraud related charges.

The pair was found guilty late last month on more than 100 charges of fraud, tax avoidance and attempting to pervert the course of justice after a nearly-two month long trial.

The court heard the offences dated back to 2005 and involved false invoices and a trail of "shell" entities which were set up in September of that year.

The invoices were for services which were never provided or, if they were, were provided at a value much lower than that recorded on the invoice.

In his ruling, Justice Steven Kos said the scheme was sold to willing and, in many but not all cases, credulous clients of the accuseds' accounting and taxpayer practice as a means of reducing the amount of tax payable by them.

The two were refused bail and ordered to surrender their passports, although at the time prosecutor Dale La Hood said this did not remove the risk of them skipping the country.

Meanwhile, the BNZ is still trying to have the pair’s family trusts TPS Asset Trust and TPS Asset No 2 Trust liquidated.

The case was adjourned in July and is scheduled to be heard in the Wellington High Court on Monday.

Associate Judge David Gendall bankrupted the pair late last month but BNZ’s lawyers then called for the trusts to be wound up.

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26 Comments & Questions

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They were lucky to only get 8 years! Tampering with evidence! Bribing
wittneses! the list goes on.

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8 years for 2.3 mio gain. What should all those crook finance guys be getting.

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They have been doing tricks with other crooks as well .

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Seems like New Zealand is a nation of many crooks?

Took the GFC to uncover the worse ones.

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8 years is a relatively harsh sentence. I'd suggest the reason for this is that one of the victims was the Crown (IRD).

It seems that when only private clients lose out, the courts deem the offending as less severe and are more lenient. Why is that?

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I knew David Rowley as a teenager. Nice, decent, easily lead. It is a tragedy for him and his family, what a hard lesson to learn. Dont mess with the IRD...

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I used to work with David Rowley many years ago and thought he was a decent honest person,was very surprised he got involved in this fraud.

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He is still a nice man, it is only his behaviour that is 'out of character'. Don't forget who he is!!

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Guests of the taxpayers, no sweat not a problem. Rome is the "legal Crown"
Judge in same camp, if not facts still remain. He bows and pays hommage to the Crown. If not loyal, he gets the boot. Dont have to be a rocket scientist to know what motivates Judge.

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whachoo smokin' , Girl?

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heart.Post my previous comment Its amazing how truth in all verity cuts to the heart.I am commenting, not trying to get you to believe as I do.No way am I interested in going down the slippery slope with you lot.

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What on earth are you on about?

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Why this story didn't make the 6pm news is beyond me.

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Sentence seems over the top for the crime. Also why wasn't the SFO involved in this?
I think its great that IRD catches those that defraud but should these criminal as opposed to civil cases be reaching court without being overseen by at least SFO?
IRD operates on guilty until proven innocent the opposite of what we should see in the courts. A little concerning I think and momentum has been gained here. Unless egos are at play IRD should agree. Politicians your thoughts?

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Justice is done.

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Involve the SFO to oversee IRD ??? It seems the IRD did pretty well on their own in this case.
These were criminal charges laid under the Crimes Act not the Income tax Act. The "guilty untill proven innocent" concept doesn't apply and IRD have to meet the same standards of proof as the SFO would.
If the IRD can run this kind of investigation themselves, adding oversight by the SFO would most likely just add a few hundred thousand dollars to the overhead costs for the same outcome.

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Have a look and see whats happening internationally. There should always be someone to "police the police" so to speak.

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I think SFO should have handled I don't see how it would have made much difference on the cost if they had from the outset.

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Great - now there is only Somers-Edgar and Dotcom to go..........

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Yo! Yo!
Sentenced to 8.5 years' prison
Translation: A little over 2 years

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It's a minimal parole period of four years at very best, not two years.

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Tax evasion for yourself is bad enough
Suckering others as well (albeit some who would have known better) is disgusting
IRD needs to get onto such scams much quicker and limit the damage

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If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true. Unfortunately there are still a few so called professionals out there who are serial scammers

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Why do so called Accountants do this and think they will never be caught? Even trainee Accountants diddle the books before they're qualified - what sort of people are they and do they not have thought for others! Thinking only of themselves - very sad people!

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SOME accountants and lawyers do this and need to be shut down. Most do not

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Post # 24. Too TRUE. Were there others involved in this Scam??????
Someone stated Skinner and Rowley may lose their homes?
So they should as others have been hurt in this SCAM.
Accountants and LAWYERS were once thought of as the family doctor.

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