Refund fraudster sentenced to three years’ jail

A woman has been sentenced to three year’ jail by the New South Wales District Court after being convicted of three counts of refund fraud.

The conviction comes after a two-year joint investigation between the Australian Federal Police and the ATO, which led to the woman’s arrest in 2014 along with her co-accused (who was sentenced to two years’ jail last year).

Over a two-month period in 2010, the pair deceived three registered tax agents, using forged documents, to lodge a total of 217 income tax returns with the ATO on behalf of unsuspecting taxpayers, claiming a total of $1.335 million in fraudulent tax refunds.

His Honour Judge P R Zahra SC said that taxpayers cannot be allowed to defraud the Commonwealth believing that detection only leads to a requirement to pay back the money:

“The offender and others within the enterprise took advantage of the ATO processes of self-assessment which reposes on those submitting returns a heavy duty of honesty”.

ATO Deputy Commissioner Michael Cranston said that the ATO takes all forms of tax crime very seriously:

“We have a range of controls and systems in place to detect potential refund fraud and will pursue those who engage in this kind of criminal behaviour”.

Ref: ATO media centre, 10 March 2017.

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