55-year-old road sweeper who owed the IRS £171,000 escapes prison

55-year-old road sweeper who owed the IRS £171,000 escapes prison

Despite operating a “get rich fast” scam that owes the taxman £171,000, a former road sweeper-turned-entrepreneur escaped prison time by failing to maintain accurate accounting documents.

By posting pictures of himself posing with a Porsche, Bentley, Cuban cigars, gold watches, and jewelry on social media, Simon Stepsys, 55, of Nantwich, Cheshire, advertised himself as an online billionaire.

The promotion of the program by the former road sweeper, which promised investors returns of £5,000 per day, turned revealed to have linkages to other “get rich quick” scams.

The Advertising Standards Authority then instructed him to cease making the claims after finding them to be unfounded and deceptive.

Stepsys admitted to failing to maintain correct accounting records and was given a sentence of 16 weeks in prison with a year’s suspension at Warrington Magistrates’ court.

In 2020, he was given a seven-year suspension from serving as a director of the corporation.

Stepsys was also had to pay fees of £3,990 and put up 200 hours of unpaid labor.

The HMRC eventually ordered Simon Stepsys Success International, his internet advertising company, into involuntary bankruptcy as a result of unpaid taxes.

Investigations found that Stepsys, a father of one who rents an old police station for £330,000, had £200,000 in his bank account that he used for himself and wife Julie rather than the Inland Revenue.

He was seen with a number of expensive automobiles as well as enjoying days at Royal Ascot.

Back in 1998, the Office of Fair Trading charged Stepsys with “preying on the weak” by offering home-based employment opportunities with substantial payouts.

The High Court issued an injunction prohibiting him from marketing “get rich fast” schemes the next year. This order also included his assertions that he had won pool games and horse races.

Stepsys said in a video advertisement for one plan, My Advertising Pays (MAP), “Look into my eyes, watch my lips, MAP is for life.”

My Advertising Pays was advertised on his GetMegaRich.com website, which boasted: “Start enjoying the life you have always dreamt of.” This kind of money-making is HIGHLY ADDICTIVE!

When Simon Stepsys Success International was wound up in 2019, the official receiver was unable to obtain any accounts from the year 2016, according to Claire Ravenscroft, the Insolvency Service’s prosecutor.

The defendant, according to her, served as the director of a business that was founded in 2013 and ran until it was wound up in 2019.

Since no accounts were maintained between 2016 and 2019, there were none for the Official Receiver to handle when the firm started to be wound up. Mr. Stepsys was asked to provide his financial records, but he was unable to.

‘Up until 2016, Howard Worth accountants handled the books and were requested for any records they may have. However, they claimed that despite having no accounts, the firm had previously employed them.

The years before to 2016 have seen their destruction. There are no accounts after it since they stopped operating on his behalf.

“Mr. Stepsys was questioned.” He admitted that he had neglected to maintain his accounts throughout the questioning. He said that maintaining records was not his strong suit. He acknowledged not having any documents.

‘On June 26, 2016, the amount of money in the firm bank account was reported to be £199,000′. He said that he had used the money to pay his wife’s and his own living expenses.

He said that although he was not in the ideal position, he still wanted to work with the official receiver.

“When questioned whether he had kept the company’s books as required by his position as director, he said that he had not. He said he was unaware of his debt to HMRC. He seems to have prioritized giving himself money above HMRC.

Mr. Stepsys’ attorney, Ethan Wright, said that Mr. Stepsys sells advertising online and that his revenue is dependent on click-through or click-based compensation.

He’s been working on the firm for a long time, and he and MAP tried using a third party payment system, but it didn’t work. Mr. Stepsys had nothing to do with it since he had no control over it.

“The owner of My Advertising Pays sued about the third party system but also lost that case; as a result, his firm Simon Stepsys Success International also collapsed and went into insolvency, leaving him without any revenue.”

The event that started it was beyond of his control, but the trouble was started by what he did afterwards. He admits it himself, yet he takes responsibility for not filing his accounts.

He said that he would have corrected the situation if he could. Though he would much prefer not be, he is.

Mr. Wright said in court that Stepsys fell into a “spiral of despair and poor health” and that the company’s demise, which he claimed was not his responsibility, was blamed online.

The counsel warned, “The situation is becoming worse,” adding that HMRC has filed a petition as a creditor. How much of the £199,000 in the corporate account was truly owing to the revenue cannot be determined.

VAT, company tax, and late payment penalties make up an anticipated sum. A payment of £16,200 was paid.

He acknowledges that the company’s wind-down was chaotic when he shut it down.

He formed an erroneous assumption about how much the business owed him, which is what made it chaotic. As a creditor, he referred to himself. He shouldn’t have acted in that way. He has expressed a tremendous lot of regret and acknowledges that.

Limited liability in a business is a luxury with obligations, according to district judge Jack McGarva.

There is a significant public interest in seeing that these obligations are fulfilled. In this instance, your refusal to maintain documents prevented the official receiver from carrying out his responsibilities, which resulted in a large loss to the public coffers.

Although I want to be clear that rather than punishing for hiding assets, I’m doing so for failing to maintain records.

After the hearing, Julie Barnes, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, stated: “Simon Stepsys admitted that he spent nearly £200,000 from the company accounts on his family and had no idea how or why he owed so much tax. Not only did he fail to maintain books and records for three years, a basic requirement for all company directors.

In the end, Simon Stepsys’ wrongdoing cost the government money, and it’s fortunate that the court saw this when it jailed the former director.

This successful prosecution ought to serve as a loud message that the Insolvency Service is dedicated to enforcing the law and will do all in its power to prosecute offenders.

»55-year-old road sweeper who owed the IRS £171,000 escapes prison«

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