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  • 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 either:

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

    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 includes 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.

    Below is a summary of serious tax crime investigations for the period of January to June 2018. These are the result of the combined efforts by the ATO and our partner agencies who, with community support, keep our tax and superannuation systems fair.

    Serious tax crime investigations – January to June 2018




    3 months jail - 2 year good behaviour bond

    A 59-year-old man from Tasmania lodged a false BAS and obtained GST credits to which he was not entitled. He was found guilty and sentenced in December 2017 to three month's jail and released immediately on a two year good behaviour bond with a recognisance of $2,000.


    18 months jail - non-parole period of 4 months

    ALAHAKONE, a 49-year-old man from St Lucia in Queensland was found guilty of 1 charge of dishonestly intending to cause a loss to the Commonwealth. He had purchased a Lamborghini Aventador and claimed it as trading stock through his company, avoiding the requirement to pay luxury car tax. A reparation order of $169,424.19 was made by the court.


    60 months jail - non-parole period of 27 months

    A 60-year-old man from Kalgoorlie in Western Australia was found guilty of 25 counts of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage from the Commonwealth of Australia by lodging BAS for his cleaning company partnership, which contained false information.


    5 years jail - non-parole period of 3 years

    SANDERS, a 75-year-old man from Queensland, was found guilty of 29 charges relating to obtaining a financial advantage by deception using a forged document. He had lodged monthly BAS claiming GST refunds he was not entitled to and provided forged documents during audit.


    84 months jail - non-parole period of 45 months

    HARTY, a 55-year-old-man from Victoria, was found guilty on 12 charges. Reparation orders of $875,160 and $34,777 were issued to Key Vision Holdings. His Honour discussed how offending of this kind was difficult to detect; this was sophisticated and well planned. His Honour also mentioned that Harty's gambling addiction explained but did not excuse the offending.


    12 months jail - release on good behaviour bond for 12 months

    TER HORST, a 52-year-old man from Nairne in South Australia, operated a Jims Computer franchise business and was found guilty of 12 charges for submitting false BAS and obtaining refunds he was not entitled to. A reparation order of $34,249 was issued by the court.


    5 years jail - non-parole period of 3 years

    HOGG, a 57-year-old tax agent from Mentone in Victoria, was found guilty on three charges of offering his clients 'options' for tax planning and lodging false returns. Hogg not only defrauded the Commonwealth but also his clients. The court made compensation orders to his clients.


    18 months and 9 months jail (two charges) to be served by way of intensive correction order

    DERBASI, a 27-year-old man from Annandale in New South Wales, was the sole director, secretary and shareholder of Mediterranean Resource Expeditions. He was found guilty on two charges of lodging false BAS.


    12 months jail

    A 62-year-old man from Rosewood in Queensland, was found guilty of dealing in proceeds of crime, having lodged seven false BAS and receiving GST refunds he was not entitled to for his entities Global Leap Pty Ltd and Richard Costa. He was given a head sentence of 12 months imprisonment for attempting to claim GST refunds he was not entitled to and providing false information during the audit.


    Three years jail - non-parole period of 27 months

    SAOUD, a 37-year-old man from Batman in Victoria was found guilty of having dishonestly caused a loss to the Commonwealth, namely the payment of excise duty relating to tobacco crops in Tarneit and Mount Cottrell.


    Three years jail - non-parole period of 27 months

    A 41-year-old man from Hadfield in Victoria, was found guilty of having dishonestly caused a loss to the Commonwealth, namely the payment of excise duty relating to tobacco crops in Coolaroo and Tarneit.


    12 months jail - released on a recognisance of 2 years and a bond of $2,000

    MCNEILL, a 42-year-old woman from Nerang in Queensland, was found guilty of two charges for lodging tax returns containing false information, for a deregistered tax agent. The refunds were proceeds of crime and proceeds passed through MCNEILL's bank account.


    7 and-a-half years jail - non-parole period of 3 years

    YARLAGADDA, a 28-year-old woman from East Brisbane in Queensland, was found guilty on eight charges. YARLAGADDA lodged false BAS to obtain refunds she was not entitled to and was also on Commonwealth charges for identity theft. It was noted the offending was sophisticated and deliberate and was conducted over a long period of time.


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    Last modified: 13 Aug 2018QC 50783