A Perth accountant has been sentenced to four years of prison time for trying to steal more than $250,000 from his clients and the tax office.
Shane Read, a Certified Practising Accountant who worked for Finkelstein Hickmott, lodged 21 tax returns for his clients without their authorisation and accessed four of his client’s business activity statements credit account balances.
Between May 2016 and July 2017 Read tried to have those clients’ tax refunds paid into his own bank account, the Perth District Court heard.
The 33-year-old was busted after the Australian Tax Office performed a pre-issue audit.
“We welcome this sentence handed down today,” said ATO assistant commissioner Tim Roach.
“The ATO has a strong commitment to protecting honest taxpayers by identifying and prosecuting any tax agents who abuse their position of trust.”
Read was convicted of obtaining and attempting to obtain more than $250,000 in total.
Roach warned that the ATO has “sophisticated” systems in place to detect “risky” behaviour.
“Tax and BAS agents, accountants and other trusted advisors have a critical role as intermediaries, conduits and influencers of behaviour in the tax and superannuation system.”
The sentencing comes after a Queensland man was sent to 30 months’ jail earlier this month for fraudulently claiming $1.1 million in GST refunds.
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