On Friday, the Maroochydore District Court sentenced David Latemore to two and a half years in jail for GST fraud and ordered him to repay more than $130,000 that he fraudulently obtained.
Between October 2008 and February 2013, Latemore lodged eight BAS and fraudulently obtained $138,723 in GST refunds and attempted to obtain a further $962,772.
Although Latemore stated that he was the director of a motor vehicle and yacht business, an ATO audit found the company had no business activity, did not make any business sales or purchases, had not paid any GST and had no entitlement to receive the GST refunds claimed.
The court also found these claims to be entirely fraudulent. He also supplied false documents to the ATO to support his claims.
The audit found that Latemore used the money obtained to fund the purchase of items intended for personal use including property and motor vehicles.
The ATO audit was prolonged due to extensions sought by Latemore during the audit period time to provide required information.
ATO assistant commissioner Peter Vujanic said the court’s decision is a reminder of the seriousness of refusing to engage with the Tax Office.
“The ATO has sophisticated systems in place to detect deliberate attempts to commit fraud and we will rigorously pursue taxpayers who are found to be cheating the system through the court system,” said Mr Vujanic.
“This wasn’t an honest mistake by a small business owner trying to do the right thing – it was a calculated and deliberate attempt to commit fraud and steal money from taxpayers.”
This is the second case of GST fraud in the space of two weeks, with the NSW District Court earlier sentencing a Manly man to six years in jail for causing a loss of $3.4 million to the Commonwealth.
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.