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  • Queenslander sentenced to seven years jail after cooking the books for his wife’s deli business

    A 51-year-old Brisbane man, Mr Stephen Mungomery, was today sentenced in the Brisbane District Court to seven years jail for fraudulently obtaining and attempting to obtain more than $1.2 million from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). He was also ordered to pay reparations of more than $1.2 million.

    Between March 2009 and October 2012, Mr Mungomery lodged forty-six Business Activity Statements (BAS) on behalf of his wife’s business, Gourmet Providores Pty Ltd. In each BAS lodgment, Mr Mungomery included expenses incurred by his sole trader entity Epicure Consulting and Training Solutions (Epicure).

    When the ATO asked Mr Mungomery to produce the invoices to substantiate the claims, Mr Mungomery produced twenty-four Epicure issued invoices with a total of $13,767,466 in sales ($1,253,511 GST inclusive). The invoices were for a range of costs including $5 million for website development and more than $2.6 million for franchise development. These invoices accounted for ninety two per cent of all expenditure, did not bear any commercial reality and were never paid.

    The ATO’s investigators discovered that the initial website developed for Gourmet Providores Pty Ltd was actually created by a different company at a cost of $7,885. Mr Mungomery’s franchise development claims were also found to be fraudulent.

    Assistant Commissioner Peter Vujanic said it was astounding that anyone thought they could get away with such brazen fraud against the Australian taxation system.

    “This wasn’t an honest mistake by a small business owner trying to do the right thing – it was a calculated and deliberate attempt to commit fraud and steal money from taxpayers,” Mr Vujanic said.

    “This kind of illegal behaviour takes away potential tax dollars from the Australian community which could otherwise go to essential infrastructure services such as roads, schools and hospitals.

    “As this case demonstrates, if you’re caught breaking the law we will hold you accountable, even if it means pursuing you in the criminal judicial system,” Mr Vujanic said.

    If a member of the community has any knowledge or concerns about someone involved in tax fraud or evasion, find out how to report it by visiting ato.gov.au/reportaconcern or call 1800 060 062. Reports can be made anonymously.

    Last modified: 22 Mar 2019QC 58350