• Latest serious tax crime investigation results

    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 interrogate various information sources and use sophisticated analytics to identify people who deliberately break the law to avoid paying the right amount of tax, or claim refunds or other payments they are not entitled to.

    Below is a summary of serious tax crime investigations for the period of June to December 2016 that are the result of the combined efforts from the ATO and our partner agencies who, with community support, keep our tax and superannuation system fair.

    Serious tax crime joint investigations – June to December 2016




    7 1/2 years jail

    A Brisbane man, Andrew HURST, was sentenced to seven and a half years jail after being convicted of 101 offences pertaining to the lodgment of false GST claims in the amount of $1.58 million. Reparations for $1.58 million were also ordered.


    4 years jail

    An Adelaide man, Abel PRASAD, was sentenced to more than four years jail for GST-related tax crime and immigration offences. Reparations of $65,394 were ordered in favour of the ATO for the outstanding GST monies.


    75 fraud charges

    A former Adelaide company director was charged with $3.8 million of fraud in relation to false fuel rebate claims.


    3 years jail

    A Brisbane woman, Lisa BISHOP, was sentenced to three years jail and ordered to repay $132,552 that was allegedly claimed via false business activity statements (BAS).


    123,000 tobacco plants seized

    Investigators executed a warrant in Victoria seizing an estimated 123,000 illegally grown tobacco plants with a potential excise value of more than $10 million.


    63 fraud charges

    A Perth accountant pleaded guilty to 63 charges of fraud relating to the lodgment of 112 tax returns containing false information and dishonestly obtaining $1.79 million.


    2 years jail

    A Victorian man, Kritsakul THAVAPITAK, was sentenced to two years jail following his part in a refund fraud, obtaining $1.335 million in refunds.


    2 1/2 years jail

    A Victorian man, Roberto QUATTROCCHI, was sentenced to two years and six months jail for obtaining a financial advantage of $392,000 by deception. Reparations for $227,000 were also ordered. Patricia GARASI, was sentenced to 16 months jail for her involvement in the GST fraud.


    3 years jail

    The following nine individuals Christopher MILES, Bradley POTTS, James CRAIG, Adam STEWART, James THORN, Mark BURGE, Lauren EDNEY, Sarah HACKETT and Sharryne THORN have been sentenced as a result of an investigation into prisoner refund fraud. Various sentences were imposed on the individuals. In one case, the offender received a sentence of three years.


    18 months jail

    A Perth man, Rasmus SPIEGEL, was sentenced to 18 months jail for dealing in the proceeds of crime which involved $161,000 dishonestly obtained from tax refunds.  This was a result of a joint investigation between Western Australia Police and ATO Investigators. 

    A second man was subsequently sentenced to imprisonment for the same offence.


    18 months jail

    A Perth man, Nicholas GASKIN, was sentenced to 18 months jail for lodging false GST claims and fake supporting documents to the ATO in an attempt to scam an $18,000 tax refund.


    $1.4 million attempted

    Investigators and the Australia Federal Police executed a search warrant in Adelaide in respect to the lodgment of five business activity statements and attempting to obtain $1.4 million in false GST and wine equalisation tax refunds, prior to refunds being paid..


    6 months jail

    A Victorian man, Antonio DATTILO was sentenced to six months jail (released immediately) and a good behaviour bond for two years for his involvement in the lodgment of false business activity statements (BAS), obtaining refunds totalling $95,000 and attempting to obtain a further $82,500.


    Six warrants

    Investigators executed six search warrants on the Gold Coast and in Victoria in respect to Crimes (Taxation Offences) Act 1980 offences pertaining to superannuation and alleged phoenix offences.

    QLD and VIC

    Imprisonment for false documents

    A Western Australian man, John SHARRATT, was sentenced to three months imprisonment for the general dishonesty offence of influencing a Commonwealth public official by providing a false document to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in relation to an appeal against an ATO decision.


    Seizure of illegal stills

    Investigators, with the assistance of Queensland Police, executed warrants at two separate premises in Queensland seizing two illegal stills, items/materials used in the distillation of spirits and illegally manufactured spirits.


    114,000 illegal tobacco plants seized

    Investigators executed warrants in New South Wales seizing an estimated 114,000 illegally grown tobacco plants with a potential excise value of more than $8.7 million.



    A former Gold Coast tax agent was arrested having departed Australia in 2008. She is awaiting trial for lodging false income tax returns under a long standing operation which has already resulted in the conviction of three others.


    Investigation spotlight: Man convicted of income tax fraud

    A 41-year-old Victorian man, Mr Kritsakul Thavapitak, was sentenced to two years jail following his part in a refund fraud syndicate that used identity crime to impersonate tax payers and lodge fraudulent claims.

    We investigated the matter, culminating in money laundering charges.

    Over a two-month period in 2010, Mr 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 Mr Thavapitak to other accounts or withdrawn as cash.

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

    Mr 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: 25 Jul 2017QC 50783