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  • Tax crime case studies

    There are people who are calculated in their attempts to deliberately commit fraud and evade their tax obligations, ultimately stealing from the Australian community and placing an unfair burden on others who are doing the right thing.

    The ATO, along with our partner agencies, access various information sources and use sophisticated analytics, to identify people who deliberately break the law to either:

    • avoid paying the right amount of tax
    • claim refunds or other payments they are not entitled to.

    These case studies demonstrate how the ATO is effectively cracking down on those who commit tax crime.

    Company director sentenced for ongoing non-compliance

    A company director has been convicted and fined $51,500 after pleading guilty to seven charges relating to outstanding activity statements and failing to comply with information notices.

    Michael George Fotios, the Director of private resource company Delta Resource Management Pty Ltd, was convicted and fined $37,500 for failing to lodge five activity statements from 1 January 2016 to 31 March 2017.

    He was also convicted of failing to provide information and documents to the ATO as required by notice. He was fined $7,000 on each of the two charges relating to this failure.

    Fotios was fined a total of $51,500 across all seven charges in the Perth Magistrates Court after the magistrate considered his plea, financial circumstances and both the lodgment of the relevant returns and compliance with the information gathering notice.

    The magistrate said due to the history of non-compliance and the seriousness of the offences, imprisonment was seriously considered as a sentencing option however the appropriate penalty was applied. He described Mr Fotios’ non-lodgment and non-compliance as contemptuous.

    If you are aware of fraudulent behaviour you can report a concern confidentially or phone us on 1800 060 062.

    Two men sentenced for money laundering and tax evasion

    On 10 August 2018, cousins Anthony Castagna and Robert Agius were sentenced following a complex tax-evasion and money laundering investigation involving millions of dollars in offshore accounts.

    Castagna, 70, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment with a four year non-parole period and Agius, 68 was sentenced to seven years six months to serve out eight years non-parole. This included a previous sentence for an unrelated tax evasion matter after being found guilty in 2012 for operating schemes via his Vanuatu-based accounting firm.

    The two men were sentenced for their involvement in tax evasion and money laundering schemes which led to them failing to declare of $5.7million of income and bonuses.

    An offshore company in Vanuatu, owned by Agius, was used to hold funds before using fake loans to return the money to Australian shores without paying tax.

    This has resulted in a yet another significant win for the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce (SFCT) following the joint Australian Federal Police led investigation.

    Since the establishment of the SFCT, more than 800 audits and reviews have been completed, raising liabilities of nearly $600 million. Seven people including Agius and Castagna, have received custodial sentences and there are currently 31 criminal, civil and intelligence operations in progress under the SFCT.

    Prosecutions send a strong message to those thinking about cheating the system. No matter how complex or how long an investigation takes, we will never tire or give in, in the pursuit of justice and protecting the Australian community.

    Man convicted of income tax fraud

    A Victorian man, Mr Kritsakul Thavapitak 41, was sentenced to two years jail, following his part in a refund fraud syndicate that used identity crime to impersonate taxpayers and lodge fraudulent claims. Our investigations culminated in money laundering charges.

    Over a two-month period in 2010, Thavapitak received and dealt with $82,879 in fraudulent tax refunds. The fraudulent tax refunds stemmed from a series of frauds committed on the ATO, involving the lodgment of 13 false income tax returns on behalf of 13 unknowing taxpayers.

    Refunds were either moved by Thavapitak to other accounts or withdrawn as cash.

    Our investigations proved that the taxpayers were not employed as reported in the returns.

    Thavapitak was also ordered to pay reparation for the amount of $82,879.

    The ATO works with other agencies and the community where appropriate to ensure that those who do the wrong thing are caught and prosecuted.

    The crimes are not honest mistakes on a tax return – they are calculated, deliberate attempts to commit fraud and avoid tax. The perpetrators are stealing from the Australian community and the Commonwealth and we will ensure they face the consequences of their actions.

    See also:

    Last modified: 06 Mar 2019QC 58067