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Gold Coast developer cops criminal conviction over GST fraud


A Gold Coast property developer has been hit with a criminal conviction for fraudulently siphoning $147,763 in GST refunds for a building that didn’t exist.

By John Buckley 12 minute read

Kevin John Barnard on Thursday faced Southport District Court, where he was sentenced to three years of imprisonment with immediate release on a three-year good-behaviour bond worth $5,000. He was also ordered to repay the amount to the ATO in full. 

Judge Rowan Jackson sentenced him to three years in prison, but offered him immediate release because he wasn’t satisfied Mr Barnard’s medical condition — one of a cardiac nature — could be managed in prison. 

“The only reason you are not serving time in prison is because of your health,” Judge Jackson said.


Mr Barnard, 59, pleaded guilty to six counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception, and two counts of attempting to gain financial advantage by deception during his time as director of Share Water Developments Pty Ltd.

The court heard that, in 2014, Mr Barnard falsified expenses on eight business activity statements (BAS) relating to a tower he was reported to have been building in Broadbeach on the Gold Coast. 

An audit of Share Water Developments’ tax affairs conducted by the ATO found that Mr Barnard never owned the land on which the tower was supposedly built, hadn’t obtained finance for the project, and hadn’t submitted any development applications for the site. 

The ATO discovered that the expenses claimed by Mr Barnard were never incurred and they were able to prevent him from making later attempts at the same play worth $76,253.

ATO assistant commissioner Ian Read welcomed Mr Barnard’s sentence, saying that deception acts such as these in effect steal from the pockets of taxpayers. 

“We have no tolerance for blatant fraud like we have seen in this case,” Mr Read said. 

“In this instance, the defendant won’t serve his sentence due to a medical condition, However, this is an exception. Those who are deliberately trying to cheat the tax system can expect to get caught and face large fines and even jail time.

“Tax fraud is not a victimless crime — those who engage in this criminal behaviour are obtaining an unfair advantage over those who do the right thing.”

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John Buckley

John Buckley


John Buckley is a journalist at Accountants Daily. 

Before joining the team in 2021, John worked at The Sydney Morning Herald. His reporting has featured in a range of outlets including The Washington Post, The Age, and The Saturday Paper.

Email John at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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