An unscrupulous Gold Coast property developer has been slapped with three years’ prison time after the Australian Taxation office caught him stealing $147,763.
Kevin Barnard, who was director of Share Water Developments, claimed he was building a high-rise apartment in the Gold Coast suburb of Broadbeach.
He even lodged eight business activity statements with fake expenses to appear like he was building the property.
But the ATO conducted an audit into Share Water Developments’ tax matters and found that Barnard was not the owner of the land at Broadbeach.
Neither did he obtain finance for the construction project, and there were no development applications submitted under his name.
Those expenses he submitted as part of the business activity statements were totally fake.
Barnard tried to steal a further $76,253 but was stopped by the taxman.
On Friday, he was sentenced at Southport District Court for pocketing $147,763 in GST refunds, and has been served three years’ jail time and a three-year good behaviour bond of $5,000.
But the Gold Coast property developer will never spend any time behind bars, as he will be released immediately on a recognisance release order.
ATO Assistant Commissioner Ian Read said the act of fraud was essentially stealing from taxpayers’ pockets.
“We have no tolerance for blatant fraud like we have seen in this case,” Read said.
Barnard won’t be serving jail time because he has a medical condition, he added, but the assistant commissioner made it clear this was an exception.
“Those who are deliberately trying to cheat the tax system can expect to get caught and face large fines and even jail time.”
“Tax fraud is not a victimless crime – those who engage in this criminal behaviour are obtaining an unfair advantage over those who do the right thing.”
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