A Perth stockbroker was today sentenced to five years’ jail for committing large-scale tax fraud while living in the United States more than a decade ago.
Gary Parsons, 53, was extradited from the US in 2017 following a decade-long joint investigation by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and Australian Federal Police (AFP). The investigation commenced in 2007 when Mr Parsons was a resident in the US, where he submitted fraudulent claims for Goods and Services tax (GST) refunds in excess of $528,000.
Assistant Commissioner Peter Vujanic said the long-running investigation utilised AUSTRAC data, and involved more than 70 witnesses, 800 exhibits and protracted negotiations with overseas partners to extradite Mr Parsons from the US.
“Today’s result demonstrates the resolve and dedication of those officers involved to ensure Mr Parsons was held to account for his actions,” he said.
“The investigation shows the strength of our domestic relationships when it comes to preventing, detecting and investigating serious financial crime.
“By working with our international partners we are broadening our reach to fight tax evasion and tax crime on a global scale.
“This case should serve as warning to anyone else contemplating committing tax crime here or overseas – you will be caught.”
Mr Parsons was initially due to stand trial in Perth on 9 October 2018, but changed his plea to guilty the following day to a reduced number of fraud charges.
The ATO works in partnership with Commonwealth agencies in the cross-agency Serious Financial Crime Taskforce, which focusses on operational responses to high priority serious financial crimes.
Australia is also a member of the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5) alliance. Under the J5, the ATO and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission work with partners from the US, UK, Canada and the Netherlands to combat international and transnational tax crime and money laundering through increased enforcement collaboration.
The introduction of these working relationships and taskforce has enhanced interagency capacity and capability to identify, prioritise and treat threats posed by serious financial crime to the Australian economy.
If a taxpayer suspects or is aware of anyone who is involved in tax fraud, they can report it confidentially at ato.gov.au/reportaconcern or call 1800 060 062