HC Deb 05 August 1890 vol 347 cc1899-900
MR. ESSLEMONT (Aberdeen, E.)

I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether' his attention has been called to the recent conviction, at the Central Criminal Court, of two men, named Falvey and Foskett, for stamp frauds, to the rider to the jury's verdict in the case, and to the observations of the Judge when sentencing the prisoners; whether it is a fact that there has been considerable laxity in the proper custody of the stamping dies in the Department of the Chief Superintendent of Dies at Somerset House, and who are the superior Revenue Officers primarily responsible for this neglect of duty; whether it is known how long the fraudulent practices in question have been carried on; whether there is any truth in the rumour that, owing to the circulation of fraudulent stamps upon the Stock Exchange for some time past, the State has lost several thousands of pounds of Stamp Duty; and whether any absolute knowledge on this head has been arrived at by the Treasury, and has that Department made any special and independent inquiry into the matter, or does it propose to do so?


In the absence of my right hon. Friend I will answer the question. The Board of Inland Revenue are not prepared to admit that considerable laxity in the proper custody of dies in their Stamping Department exists. These dies are kept strictly as laid down by the regulations for which they are responsible, but on the rider to the Jury's verdict, in the case of "The Queen v. Falrey and Foskitt," being brought to their notice, the Board themselves, with the assistance of their solicitor, commenced a searching inquiry, which is still proceeding, with a view of ascertaining, if possible, the person or persons responsible for the fraud, and of making, if found desirable, stricter regulations as to the custody of the dies. There is no reason to believe that these frauds have been going on for any length of time, and the evidence disclosed at the Police Court and at the trial only pointed to the fraudulent use of dies on three dates in March of this year. There is no reason to give credit to any rumour that the State has lost several thousands of pounds of Stamp Duties. The facts have not yet been sent officially to the Treasury, pending the inquiry by the Board of Inland Revenue, but they will be reported on as soon as that inquiry is completed.