ATO says the sentence shows offenders should come forward or face severe consequences.
Fraudster who claimed $830k in GST refunds gets 7.5 years’ jail
A Mildura man has been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison after obtaining more than $830,000 in fraudulent GST refunds.
The County Court of Victoria heard that Linden Phillips had recently been released from custody when he lodged false BAS to claim $834,437 in GST refunds.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception, and one count each of attempting to obtain financial advantage by deception and dealing with proceeds of crime.
The sentence includes a non-parole period of five years.
The ATO said it was another example of its extensive efforts under Operation Protego to counter GST fraud after widespread criticism that it had failed to heed early warnings about the problem.
ATO Deputy Commissioner John Ford said the sentence was a warning to other GST fraudsters.
“We’ve warned the community and have urged offenders to come forward to the ATO or face even more severe consequences,” he said.
“This outcome clearly demonstrates that those who steal funds from the community that would otherwise be used for essential services will face the full force of the law.”
“GST fraud is not a victimless crime and we continue to work closely with state and federal law enforcement agencies to bring offenders to account. Our work with Mildura police has been especially effective in curbing widespread fraud in a local area.”
He said the ATO was working with the AFP-led Criminal Asset Confiscation Taskforce to ensure that the funds illegally obtained, as well as any property bought with the proceeds of GST fraud, were forfeited to the Commonwealth.
Under Operation Protego the ATO said it had taken action against more than 56,000 individuals suspected of GST fraud.