Gold Coast Fraudster Nabbed by the AFP’s Project Wickenby for $2.7 Million in Tax Fraud Offences
Gold Coast, QLD (News4us.com) November 10, 2010
A 45-year-old Runaway Bay man is scheduled to face Southport Magistrates Court today, charged with tax fraud offences which have allegedly caused a loss to the Commonwealth of $2.7 million.
In January 2006, a joint Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Taxation Office (ATO) investigation commenced into a tax evasion scheme operated from the Gold Coast.
As a result of the investigation, $1.905 million has been recovered by the AFP and the ATO through proceeds of crime action against the Runaway Bay man and an alleged scheme participant.
It is alleged that the man devised, promoted and facilitated an aggressive tax evasion scheme resulting in a number of his accountancy practice clients knowingly avoiding their taxation liabilities and thereby, defrauding the Commonwealth of Australia, namely the ATO.
It is currently estimated that the loss to the Commonwealth is more than $2.7 million.
Twenty-three search warrants have been executed in relation to this investigation at associated locations in Brisbane and the Gold Coast since March 2006, from which large quantities of documents were seized.
Nine charges have been laid to date on four persons alleged to have been participants in this scheme.
The Runaway Bay man will face three charges of defrauding the Commonwealth, contrary to section 29D of the Crimes Act 1914 and 10 charges of aiding and abetting scheme participants to dishonestly gain a financial advantage from the Commissioner of Taxation, contrary to section 134.2(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995.
The maximum penalty for these offences is 10 years imprisonment.
This investigation is one of 12 major criminal investigations being conducted by the AFP under Project Wickenby.
Project Wickenby is an ongoing joint taskforce involving the ATO, AFP, Australian Crime Commission, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
It aims to protect the integrity of Australian financial and regulatory systems by preventing people from promoting or participating in the abuse of tax or secrecy havens.
To date, 60 people have been charged as a result of Project Wickenby.
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