Benjamin Carter poses an “unacceptable” risk to the public and must be prevented from practising, the board said.
TPB slaps 5-year ban on accountant involved in $26m fraud
The TPB has slapped a five-year ban on a Sydney accountant charged with stealing $26 million through his firm to fund a lavish lifestyle and gambling addiction.
The board said Benjamin Carter, 37, had breached five items of the tax agent code of professional and was no longer a “fit and proper person”.
Chair Peter de Cure said Mr Carter, who is currently on bail pending the remainder of his trial, posed an “unacceptable” risk to the public.
“Mr Carter’s conduct was serious, fraudulent, and demonstrated dishonesty and deception. His actions undermined the integrity of the tax profession and caused detriment to his clients and the ATO.”
“We were not willing to let Mr Carter continue practising.”
The long-running TPB investigation found that Mr Carter lodged false BAS and amendments for unwitting clients and lied about their tax returns and debts that did not exist.
He spent $350,000 in client refunds and ATO payments on himself and misappropriated $440,000 intended for share purchases on behalf of clients.
In addition to defrauding his clients, the TPB said that Mr Carter did not meet his own tax obligations, citing failures to lodge tax returns, activity statements, superannuation guarantees and SMSF returns on time.
He also failed to pay over $1 million in outstanding tax debts he and his accounting firm, Carter’s Tax Advisory, owed.
Mr de Cure said the TPB’s collaboration with law enforcement was an important part of its compliance work.
“[The collaboration] enables our combined success in stamping out illegal and unethical behaviour to protect the public,” said Mr de Cure.
The TPB first launched its investigation into Mr Carter in June, before referring the matter to NSW Police.
Mr Carter has since been charged with 19 counts of using dishonesty to obtain financial advantage by deception.
Police alleged that Mr Carter used his position as a tax agent to commit wide-scale fraud amounting to $26 million for personal gain, using misappropriated funds to place over 50,000 individual bets.
Mr Carter’s barrister, Simon Buchen, said gambling company Sportsbet “induced” Mr Carter into placing bets and that all of the stolen money had been spent on Sportsbet’s online platform.
Mr Carter’s trial will resume on 3 November.