A man who claimed to be a property developer and accountant, despite having no experience in either, has been jailed after claiming almost $500,000 in bogus GST refunds while acting on behalf of his business client.
The ATO revealed that Victorian man Allan Dalton was sentenced to six years and nine months in prison over the tax fraud, which was worth $479,714.84.
In a statement, the Tax Office said that Mr Dalton was brought in to act as an accountant and property developer by Greenhills Grange Pty Ltd, known simply as Greenhills, as part of the first phase of a residential development of 12 town houses.
It said that financial difficulties had befallen the project and that Mr Dalton “convinced the directors that he had extensive experience in property development and accounting and would be able to get the project back on track”, despite having no prior experience in either field.
He had then engaged an external accountant to manage the business activity statement (BAS) lodgements on the company’s behalf.
According to the ATO, Mr Dalton overstated Greenhills’ expenditure within the 16 BAS lodgements between March 2010 and June 2011, obtaining the almost $500,000 in GST refunds as a result.
However, it said that the business was only entitled to refunds of $52,500 over the period.
The refund money was then transferred to both Mr Dalton’s personal bank account and other accounts over which he was a signatory, it said.
In addition to the jail sentence, the County Court of Victoria ordered Mr Dalton to repay the full amount illegally obtained.
“Mr Dalton deliberately engaged with an external accountant and knowingly provided false information to him to obtain a personal financial advantage,” acting Assistant Commissioner David Mendoza said following the sentencing.
“As this case demonstrates, if you provide false information to your adviser, you are breaking the law. We will hold you accountable and you will be pursued through the criminal judicial system.”
According to the Australian Business Register, Greenhills Grange Pty Ltd was registered from 10 March 2006 but had its ABN cancelled as of 12 March 2015.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.