Following a decade-long joint investigation by the ATO and the Australian Federal Police, Perth man Gary Parsons has been sentenced to jail for submitting fraudulent claims for GST refunds in excess of $528,000 while living in the US.
Mr Parsons was initially due to stand trial in Perth on 9 October 2018, but changed his plea to guilty the following day to a reduced number of fraud charges.
ATO assistant commissioner Peter Vujanic said the long-running investigation utilised AUSTRAC data, and involved more than 70 witnesses, 800 exhibits and protracted negotiations with overseas partners to extradite Mr Parsons from the US.
“The investigation shows the strength of our domestic relationships when it comes to preventing, detecting and investigating serious financial crime,” said Mr Vujanic.
“By working with our international partners we are broadening our reach to fight tax evasion and tax crime on a global scale.
“This case should serve as warning to anyone else contemplating committing tax crime here or overseas – you will be caught.”
Australia is also a member of the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5) alliance. Under the J5, the ATO and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission work with partners from the US, UK, Canada and the Netherlands to combat international and transnational tax crime and money laundering through increased enforcement collaboration.
The ATO recently participated in a joint data challenge with the J5 alliance to identify, develop, and test tools, platforms, techniques, and methods that focused on identifying professional enablers facilitating offshore tax fraud and financial crime posing a threat to the J5 jurisdictions.
Jotham Lian is the news editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.