The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) charged our client. The offences were four counts of Dishonestly Obtaining a Financial Advantage by Deception from a Commonwealth entity. The maximum penalty for this fraud 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, when there was no entitlement to such refunds.
Our client, together with a co-accused, registered their businesses for GST. They nominated their own accounts for payments from the ATO, including GST refunds. Then they lodged a monthly paper BAS with the ATO that showed false business activity over the period.
The total value of the fraud and attempted fraud was more than $400,000.00.
Careful work leads to an exceptional result
Associate solicitor, Ms Pisasale, analysed the brief. After extensive negotiations with the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP), he resolved the 68 charges to three representative counts. These were 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 sentencing practices were for 12 months or more gaol.
We provided the court with character references and a comprehensive personal background of our client. Mr Pisasale contextualised the offending through detailed submissions. We conceded that gaol was appropriate. However, after submissions on behalf of our client, the court accepted that there were mitigating circumstances. Ultimately, the court imposed only a brief custodial sentence and a five-year $2000.00 ‘Recognisance Release Order’. This requires our client to serve only 6 months’ custody.
This was an exceptional result for our client. It reflects the commitment of our solicitors to ensuring justice for our clients.
It is important to remember that each fraud case will be different. The outcomes will depend on an analysis of the evidence, taking careful instructions from our client and carefully preparing the case for hearing.