Dishonestly Obtaining a Financial Advantage by Deception

Our client was charged with four representative counts of Dishonestly Obtaining a Financial Advantage by Deception from a Commonwealth entity, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). The maximum penalty for this offence is 10 years’ imprisonment and/or 600 penalty units.

This offending concerned obtaining Goods and Services Tax (GST) refunds from the ATO, and attempts to obtain GST refunds, over a period of several years, when there was no entitlement to such refunds.

Our client, together with a co-accused, registered their businesses for GST, and nominated their own accounts for receipt of payments from the ATO, including GST refunds. Thereafter, a monthly paper BAS was lodged with the ATO containing falsified business activity over the period of the offending.

The total value of the fraud and attempted fraud amounted to in excess of $400,000.00.

Associate solicitor, Ms Pisasale, analysed the brief and after extensive negotiations with the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP), resolved the 68 charges to three representative counts, comprising of two counts of Obtaining a Financial Advantage by Deception and one count of Attempting to Obtain a Financial Advantage by Deception.

On the plea in the County Court, the Crown submitted several cases demonstrating that current sentencing practices were in the order of 12 months’ gaol and higher.

The court was provided with character references and a comprehensive personal background of our client. The offending was contextualised through detailed submissions by Ms Pisasale. It was conceded that gaol was appropriate however after submissions on behalf of our client, the court accepted that there were mitigating circumstances and ultimately imposed only a brief custodial sentence and a five year $2000.00 ‘Recognisance Release Order’ requiring our client to serve only 6 months’ custody prior to being released into the community.

This was an exceptional result for our client and reflects the commitment of our solicitors to ensuring that justice is administered fairly and in accordance with our client’s interests.

It is important to remember that each case will be different and the outcomes will depend on an analysis of the evidence, taking careful instructions from our client and preparation of the case for hearing.