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Man cops five years' jail for $5 million tax refund

·1-min read
Handcuffed man standing in courtroom
Man cops five years' jail for $5 million tax refund. Source: Getty

A 38-year-old man from Victoria has been sentenced to five years’ jail, after he was found guilty of conspiring to defraud the Commonwealth of more than $5 million through Goods and Services Tax (GST) refunds.

According to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the fraudster, Michael Ray, had illegally obtained personal identifying information, and used it to create false entities and register them for GST.

Then, business activity statements were lodged to claim false GST refunds, which were directed to bank accounts created using the stolen identities.

A police investigation, known as Operation SPINEL, revealed Ray. attempted to obtain a share in over $5 million, and did dishonestly obtain a share in more than $2.5 million, from the GST fraud scheme.

Ray was sentenced to five years’ jail, with a non-parole period of three years, after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy with the intention of dishonestly obtaining a gain from the Commonwealth.

“$1.5 million has been recovered and those who had their identity compromised were provided support to help get their affairs back on track. This is an excellent result,” ATO assistant commissioner, Ian Read said.

“Tax crime affects the whole community by reducing the revenue that is available to fund essential community services.

“We know the majority of people are honest, but there are a small percentage of people who deliberately abuse the tax and super system for their own financial benefit. Today’s sentencing shows that these people will be held to account.”

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