Following a nine-week trial by jury, Raymond Clifford Osborne, 63, was found guilty on two counts of defrauding the Commonwealth and two counts of dishonestly causing a loss to the Commonwealth.
Last week, he was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, to be released forthwith upon entering into recognisance of $4,000 without security with a condition to be of good behaviour for two years (to October 2017).
Charlie Carver, Australian Crime Commission acting executive director of operations, praised the prosecution, saying that hiding income by moving it offshore is a serious criminal offence that will not be ignored.
“Accountants and lawyers who help clients evade their tax responsibility by using complicated, deceptive schemes such as this one, will be investigated and prosecuted,” Mr Carver warned.
ATO deputy commissioner Michael Cranston said the sentence sends a clear warning to those who are in positions of trust and decide to facilitate others to avoid paying their fair share of tax.
“Professional advisers play an important role in helping us to maintain the integrity of the Australian tax system and ensure people meet their tax obligations,” he said.
“The majority of professional advisers act within the legal boundaries; however, there are a few like Mr Osborne, who instead choose to help clients evade their tax obligations under the law.
“The community, and other advisers who operate within the law, expect us to bring people to account for their actions — and we will.”
The sentence, handed down by acting judge A Garling in the District Court of NSW on 30 October, is another successful result arising from Project Wickenby and its focus on offshore tax evasion.
While the Project Wickenby Taskforce has formally ended, some prosecutions are still underway.