Michael Ray, along with two other members of the Victorian-based fraud syndicate, had obtained a share in more than $2.5 million from a GST fraud scheme that had operated between 12 November 2010 and 14 December 2012.
According to the ATO, the scheme involved illegally obtaining personal identifying information that was then used to create false entities and register them for GST.
Business activity statements (BAS) were then lodged to claim false GST refunds, which were directed to bank accounts that had been created using the stolen identities.
In total, the scheme intended to defraud the Commonwealth of more than $5 million.
The scheme was discovered by a joint ATO and Australian Federal Police investigation, leading to the charges against Mr Ray and the two other fraud syndicate members in May 2017.
Police executed search warrants at a number of Melbourne properties and safety deposit boxes, seizing more than $1.5 million in cash.
Facing the Melbourne County Court on Monday, Mr Ray was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of three years after pleading guilty to conspiracy with the intention of dishonestly obtaining a gain from the Commonwealth.
ATO Assistant Commissioner Ian Read said this is a successful result under the partnership of the ATO and AFP, who work together to investigate serious criminal activities.
“Tax crime affects the whole community by reducing the revenue that is available to fund essential community services,” said Mr Read.
“We know the majority of people are honest, but there are a small percentage of people who deliberately abuse the tax and super system for their own financial benefit. Today’s sentencing shows that these people will be held to account.
“$1.5 million has been recovered and those who had their identity compromised were provided support to help get their affairs back on track. This is an excellent result.”
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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.