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  • Computer networking student’s next assignment: networking in jail

    A 31-year-old Indian national who was in Australia studying computer networking was today sentenced to two years and three months jail for his involvement in a tax fraud and crime scheme committed while he was living in Hoppers Crossing, Victoria.

    Mr Tharun Likki was sentenced in the County Court of Victoria on charges relating to attempting to obtain $22,180 by deception in July 2013 and dealing with the proceeds of crime in respect of $117,540 between October 2014 and October 2015.

    The scheme also involved his brother Mr Varun Likki and a mutual friend Mr Ranjith Goli. Mr V Likki and Mr Goli were also Indian nationals who arrived in Australia on student visas in June 2008.They both departed Australia in August 2010. Mr T Likki then arrived in Australia from India in April 2012 on a student visa.

    They illegally obtained student visa details of Indian nationals temporarily residing in Australia to generate Tax File Numbers (TFN). Mr T Likki then used some of these TFNs to lodge fraudulent Income Tax Returns in an attempt to obtain a financial benefit. The nominated destination for payment of refunds was a bank account held in the name of either Mr V Likki or Mr Goli. On a number of occasions, following receipt of refund payments, sums of money were then transferred to accounts held by Mr T Likki.

    Following a tip-off from the community, the ATO worked with the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the Australian Border Force (ABF) and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) to investigate and uncover the extent of the fraud.

    Mr Likki was convicted of the two charges under the Criminal Code 1995 (Commonwealth) – obtaining financial advantage by deception and dealing with the proceeds of crime.

    ATO Assistant Commissioner Peter Vujanic welcomed the sentence handed down today as it reflects the seriousness of the crimes committed.

    “Contrary to popular belief, tax crime is not victimless: when you claim a refund you’re not entitled to you are stealing from the whole community and disadvantaging Australians who do the right thing.

    “This sentence highlights the effectiveness of a coordinated response to tax fraud and crime and is a testament to the working relationship between the ATO, AFP, ABF and the CDPP,” Mr Vujanic said.

    If a member of the community has any knowledge or concerns about someone doing the wrong thing they can report it online at ato.gov.au/reportaconcern or by calling 1800 060 062.

    Last modified: 05 Mar 2019QC 58149