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  • Phoenix Taskforce outcomes

    Since the implementation of the Phoenix Taskforce in 2015, some impressive results have been achieved:

    • Along with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), we prosecuted 25 illegal phoenix operators.
    • ASIC took action against 12 registered liquidators and 79 company directors.
    • We noticed a reduction in businesses displaying risk factors of non-compliance which may lead to illegal phoenix activity, and a reduction in newly-created entities linked to confirmed phoenix activity.
    • Phoenix Taskforce interagency referrals have positive correlations to identifying businesses potentially at risk of illegal phoenix activity.
    • The Serious Financial Crime Taskforce is currently actioning seven criminal phoenix matters.

    Between 1 July 2018 and 30 September 2018 the Phoenix Taskforce:

    • conducted 146 audits and reviews
    • raised $82.8 million in tax liabilities
    • collected and returned $33.5 million to the community
    • completed four criminal convictions from eight criminal prosecutions
    • banned and disqualified 11 directors from acting.

    See also:

    Quarterly progress

    The Phoenix Taskforce prepares a quarterly report that details progress and achievements.

    Find out about:

    Outcomes from July to September 2018

    Criminal prosecutions

    • Adam John Copping pleaded guilty to dishonestly using his position to fraudulently remove company property. He was convicted and fined $2,500.
    • Jason Andrew Hammond was disqualified from managing companies for the maximum period of five years as a result of his involvement in three failed companies. His disqualification took effect from 11  August 2018 and extends to 10 August 2023.
    • Allan Raad and Yousef Joseph Bazouni were convicted and sentenced after pleading guilty to charges concerning a breach of director's duties and the fraudulent removal of company assets. Mr Raad was sentenced to a total of 18 months' imprisonment and released on a recognisance order to be of good behaviour for two years. Mr Bazouni was convicted with no penalty imposed and was ordered to be of good behaviour for 12 months. Both are automatically disqualified from managing companies for five years.
    • Paul Joshua Flackmorr was convicted for failing to assist ASIC in an investigation. He was convicted and fined $900.

    Other outcomes

    In July, we:

    Outcomes from January to June 2018

    Criminal prosecutions

    • John Thomas Shannon and his son, Jason, were disqualified from holding directorships for 3.5 years and four years respectively after ASIC alleged a number of breaches of director duties. The pair had engaged in illegal phoenix activity while accruing large debts to the ATO and WorkCover Queensland, as well as unsecured creditors.
    • 15 top phoenix targets have been endorsed by the Phoenix Steering Committee for action.

    Other outcomes

    • Taskforce agencies established a real-time information sharing approach which captures, collates and disseminates intelligence and provides an escalation process for top phoenix target operational matters.
    • 310 cross-agency disclosures were made as intelligence and operational working groups continue to share information on the top phoenix targets.

    Outcomes from October to December 2017

    Criminal prosecutions

    Together with ASIC, we finalised four criminal prosecutions. These resulted in three criminal convictions, including:

    • 8 November 2017 – Paul Hanson was sentenced to a Community Correction Order for three years requiring him to complete 300 hours of community service for his role in stripping assets from a company after it was liquidated. While under external administration, Mr Hanson arranged for the transfer of funds from a company account to a family member. Due to the conviction, he was disqualified from managing corporations for five years.
    • 14 November 2017 – Voli Della Bosca pleaded not guilty, but was found guilty of acting dishonestly and causing loss to the Commonwealth. Della Bosca operated a number of businesses where he failed to accurately report PAYG withholding tax. He was sentenced by the Cairns District Court to two years’ imprisonment, to be released after serving four months and entering into a good behaviour bond of $2,000 for three years.
    • 12 December 2017 – James Meaden was convicted and sentenced after pleading guilty to dishonestly using his position as a director by transferring company assets to a related company of which he was also sole director. As a result of the conviction, Meaden was automatically disqualified from managing corporations for five years.
    • 19 December 2017 – Sheila McAulay pleaded guilty to dishonestly using her position as a director of a company by disposing of assets to a related company. McAulay was discharged without conviction upon entering into a good behaviour bond of $2,000 for two years.

    Other outcomes

    • Three matters were referred to the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce for criminal investigation.
    • The taskforce raised $116.5 million in liabilities, collected over $36.8 million in cash, and completed 64 audits and reviews.
    • An ATO application seeking a court inquiry into a registered liquidator’s conduct continued.
    • There were 176 cross-agency disclosures this quarter – compared to 11 last quarter.
    • The Phoenix Taskforce actively contributed to the Australian Government’s Phoenix law reform package which is being considered by government. We continue to be in contact with The Treasury to contribute to the government’s consideration of possible law reform measures.
    • A further 12 operations were endorsed by the Phoenix Taskforce Steering Committee in December 2017 for cross-agency civil action. This is in addition to the three operations endorsed in September 2016.
    Last modified: 01 Jul 2019QC 55340