A former solicitor has admitted pretending to work for HM Revenue & Customs in an attempt to obtain information about a disciplinary investigation into his own misconduct.
Paul Baxendale-Walker, 52, was struck off as a solicitor at a tribunal hearing in 2007, but then wrote to the Law Society to try to get an admission of wrongdoing that would overturn the decision.
Baxendale-Walker used a false name and what appeared to be HMRC-headed paper to try to get the admission.
In August 2010, he submitted a claim for damages that subsequently failed in the High Court, but during the proceedings the judge indicated he might have committed offences by impersonating an HMRC officer.
Appearing at Guildford Crown Court (pictured), Baxendale-Walker denied the charges against him, but last Friday he pleaded guilty to one count of forgery. Five other counts will remain on file.
He was fined £15,015 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £210,000.
His Honour Judge Peter Moss said: ‘Your intention in writing the letter was to lead the recipient to telling you things he would otherwise not have done. You determined by trick and underhand means to pursue an individual who was correctly employed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Such people are entitled to be protected from the harassment you subjected them to.’
In a statement HMRC said Baxendale-Walker is a well-known designer of tax avoidance schemes and has written extensively on the use of employee remuneration trusts to avoid tax.