GST fraudster sentenced over multi-million dollar scheme

This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police and Australian Taxation Office

A 38-year-old fraud syndicate member who conspired to defraud the Commonwealth of more than $5 million dollars through Goods and Services Tax (GST) refunds, has been sentenced to 5 years imprisonment with a non-parole period of 3 years after facing the Melbourne County Court today (Monday 23 November, 2020).

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Taxation Office (ATO) joint investigation, known as Operation SPINEL, identified and charged the South Melbourne man, in May 2017, along with two other members of the Victorian-based fraud syndicate.

The man was charged after police identified he had attempted to obtain a share in over $5m and did dishonestly obtain a share in more than $2.5 million from the GST fraud scheme which had operated between 12 November 2010 and 14 December 2012.

The scheme was concocted to illegally obtain personal identifying information. This information was then used to create false entities and register them for GST. Business activity statements (BAS) were then lodged to claim false GST refunds, which were directed to bank accounts that had been created using the stolen identities.

In total, the scheme intended to defraud the Commonwealth of more than $5 million.

Police executed search warrants at a number of Melbourne properties and safety deposit boxes, seizing more than $1.5 million in cash.

The man was sentenced today to 5 years imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 3 years, after he pleaded guilty to Conspiracy with the intention of dishonestly obtaining a gain from the Commonwealth, contrary to Section 135.4(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).

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