Canberra Man Jailed for Complex Fraud Tied to Organised Crime

This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police, Australian Taxation Office and Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

A Canberra man has been jailed for his role in an elaborate $13 million fraud with links to transnational and serious organised crime groups and after receiving $136,535 for his role in the scheme.

The Kingston man, 43, was sentenced to two and a half years' imprisonment in the District Court of NSW today.

In July 2020, AFP investigators executed search warrants at locations in New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT as part of Operation Bordelon - a coordinated investigation of a transnational and serious organised criminal syndicate allegedly using labour hire and payroll companies associated with the building and construction industry to defraud the Commonwealth.

The joint investigation began in December 2018 as a result of AFP investigators following up intelligence identified through a number of other organised crime investigations. The principals of this syndicate were identified and an innovative whole-of-government approach to the investigation was adopted.

The AFP and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) partnered through the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce (SFCT) to target the activities of the syndicate that siphoned off monies that companies it controlled dishonestly failed to remit to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as payment of tax. The proceeds of that criminal activity were allegedly funnelled into bank accounts controlled by syndicate members and their associates.

Following the efforts of the SFCT investigation and the commencement of a prosecution conducted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, the man pleaded guilty in November 2022 to:

  • One count aiding, abetting, counselling, or procuring the conduct of another person to commit an offence of dishonestly causing a loss to the Commonwealth, contrary to section 135.1(5) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

He was sentenced to two years and six months' imprisonment with a non-parole period of one year and three months.

Twelve other people charged in relation to the investigation remain before the court.

AFP Detective Superintendent Kristie Cressy said defrauding the Commonwealth was a serious offence, which undermined the Government's budget that is available to fund policy objectives including the provision of community services and social welfare that many people rely on.

"Law-abiding Australians earning an honest day's living pay their taxes and contribute as good community citizens, while organised criminals seek to steal public money without regard for its impact on the community." Detective Superintendent Cressy said.

"The AFP will continue to target organised crime where it hurts them the most, taking away their proceeds of crime."

ATO Deputy Commissioner and SFCT Chief John Ford said this sentence highlights that the SFCT has a determined and continued focus on those who engage in financial crime.

"Criminals who engage in deliberate tax fraud and evasion activities like this are committing fraud against the entire community."

"This outcome sends a clear message to those who think they can get away with financial crime. The Serious Financial Crime Taskforce has a dedicated team of experts across multiple agencies - we will find you, and hold you to account."

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