A Sydney woman has been sentenced to four years’ jail for defrauding the Commonwealth of more than $105 million over three years, the Australian Taxation Office has revealed.
Devyn Hammon is the fourth person to be sentenced for her role in the syndicate, after pleading guilty to charges of conspiring to defraud the Commonwealth and conspiring to deal with proceeds of crime of over $1 million.
The 2017 Australian Federal Police investigation revealed a group of people that used payroll services companies to divert pay-as-you-go withholding tax and services tax owed to the ATO.
The investigation, called Operation Elbrus, saw sixteen people charged, with Hammond’s sentencing marking the fourth of the operation.
Joshua Kitson, the former general manager of Plutus Payroll, entered into a guilty plea to conspiring to defraud the Commonwealth in November 2018. He was sentenced to four years and six months’ jail in August 2019.
Aaron Paul entered into a guilty plea in June 2019 for dealing in proceeds of crime in excess of $200,000, and was sentenced to jail for three years in February this year.
Paul O’Leary was also sentenced to jail for two years and three months in June this year, after entering into a guilty plea for negligently dealing in proceeds of crime in excess of $1 million.
“These outcomes show the commitment of the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce in bringing the most serious offenders of financial crime to account,” Serious Financial Crime Taskforce chief Will Day said.
“This was part of an elaborate and complicated scheme, but our sophisticated approach, combining intelligence and specialist powers of taskforce agencies, means tax criminals will come unstuck.”
AFP commander of investigations Kirsty Schofield said the fourth sentencing was a step forward for the investigative team, but there was more work to be done.
“Tax fraud takes money away from essential community services and leaves everyday taxpayers to pick up the bill,” Schofield said.
“It’s not a victimless crime – it impacts every single Australian who wants to do the right thing.”
Day said this particular fraud “ripped off innocent creditors”, and deprived the public of valuable funds that could otherwise be used to fund essential services.
ATO warns against tax crime
The ATO issued a warning against anyone considering committing a tax crime on their refund this year.
“Those who deliberately cheat the system will be held to account,” the ATO stated.
The tax office revealed a series of major tax crimes committed by Australians in the past, and the consequences these crimes had.
One perpetrator was Queensland man, Joseph Kanowski, who earned himself five years behind bars for using stolen identities to get his hands on fraudulent tax refunds and social security payments.
Are you a millennial or Gen Z-er interested in joining a community where you can learn how to take control of your money? Join us at The Broke Millennials Club on Facebook!