The Supreme Court of New South Wales has now sentenced Simon Paul Anquetil to seven years and six months in jail for his role as a principal conspirator in a syndicate that is alleged to have defrauded the Commonwealth of more than $105 million over three years.
The 37-year-old man from Liverpool, NSW, is the founder of Plutus Payroll and one of the chief architects of the fraudulent scheme, which used payroll services companies to divert pay-as-you-go withholding tax and goods and services tax owed to the ATO.
Mr Anquetil pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to defraud the Commonwealth and dealing with the proceeds of crime in excess of $1 million.
He is the fifth person to be sentenced in relation to this syndicate and was given a non-parole period of five years.
Earlier this month, Devyn Hammond, a fellow conspirator, was sentenced to four years in jail.
Chief of the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce and ATO deputy commissioner Will Day welcomed the sentence handed down on Friday morning.
“These outcomes show the commitment of the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce in bringing the most serious offenders of financial crime to account,” Mr Day said.
“This was part of an elaborate and complicated scheme, but our sophisticated approach, combining intelligence and specialist powers of taskforce agencies, means tax criminals will come unstuck.
“Tax crime affects everyone. This particular fraud has ripped off innocent creditors and deprived the public of valuable funds that could otherwise be used to fund essential services.”
A total of 16 people have so far been charged as part of Operation Elbrus, the joint investigation into the tax fraud conspiracy.
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP), which is prosecuting the matters, said the outcomes of today’s sentencing were down to the staunch collaboration among the agencies that comprise the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce.
“Investigating and prosecuting tax frauds of this magnitude pose a huge challenge for Commonwealth agencies. The cases are complex and protracted, requiring the dedication of substantial resources over a long period of time,” The CDPP’s deputy director, Berdj Tchakerian, said.
“This offender’s behaviour was sophisticated, planned and motivated by greed, resulting in a massive fraud against the revenue, which effectively is a fraud also on all other law-abiding taxpayers who do the right thing and lawfully pay their taxes.
“The CDPP remains steadfast in prosecuting those who engage in this type of offending to the full extent possible.”
Jotham Lian is the 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.