A man has been sentenced to seven years’ jail time over a $1.2 million tax fraud involving his wife’s deli business and its business activity statements.
Brisbane man Stephen Mungomery, 51, was sentenced by the Brisbane District Court last Thursday (21 March) for a series of falsified BASs, the ATO said in a statement.
According to the tax office, Mr Mungomery had lodged a total of 46 BASs on behalf of his wife’s business, Gourmet Providores Pty Ltd, between March 2009 and October 2012.
In each of those, he included expenses allegedly incurred by his own business, Epicure Consulting and Training Solutions, which he operated as a sole trader, it said.
When asked to produce invoices to substantiate these claims, Mr Mungomery allegedly produced 24 Epicure invoices, for costs totalling more than $13.7 million — including GST worth $1,253,511.
By doing so, he was “fraudulently obtaining and attempting to obtain more than $1.2 million” from the ATO, it said.
“The invoices were for a range of costs including $5 million for website development and more than $2.6 million for franchise development. These invoices accounted for 92 per cent of all expenditure, did not bear any commercial reality and were never paid,” the ATO said.
“The ATO’s investigators discovered that the initial website developed for Gourmet Providores Pty Ltd was actually created by a different company at a cost of $7,885. Mr Mungomery’s franchise development claims were also found to be fraudulent.”
Assistant commissioner Peter Vujanic said that far from being an honest mistake, “it was a calculated and deliberate attempt to commit fraud and steal money from taxpayers”.
“This kind of illegal behaviour takes away potential tax dollars from the Australian community which could otherwise go to essential infrastructure services such as roads, schools and hospitals,” he said.
“As this case demonstrates, if you’re caught breaking the law, we will hold you accountable, even if it means pursuing you in the criminal judicial system.”
In addition to the prison sentence, Mr Mungomery was also ordered to pay reparations to the tax office for the more than $1.2 million obtained.
The ATO confirmed to My Business that it has not taken any action against Mr Mungomery’s wife as the owner of Gourmet Providores.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.