A Queensland man has been sentenced to 30 months imprisonment for trying to fraudulently claim $1.1 million in GST refunds.
Maroochydore District Court on Friday sent David Latemore, a 48-year-old from the Sunshine Coast, to jail as well as ordering him to pay more than $130,000 in reparations.
The court heard that while Latemore claimed to be the director of a motor vehicle and yacht business, the entity was found to conduct no activity. He received $138,723 in GST refunds and tried to claim a further $962,772 despite the business not buying or selling anything or paying GST.
“This wasn’t an honest mistake by a small business owner trying to do the right thing – it was a calculated and deliberate attempt to commit fraud and steal money from taxpayers,” said ATO assistant commissioner Peter Vujanic.
An audit discovered that Latemore purchased personal items like cars and real estate with the fraudulently obtained funds.
The sentencing finally closed the book on a long investigation, according to the tax office, which claimed Latemore repeatedly sought extensions in providing information.
Vujanic said Latemore’s 2.5 year jail term should serve as a warning to others of the “seriousness” in not co-operating with ATO enquiries.
“The ATO has sophisticated systems in place to detect deliberate attempts to commit fraud and we will rigorously pursue taxpayers who are found to be cheating the system through the court system.”
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