Targeting serious financial crime
The majority of people comply with their tax obligations. However, there are a small number of people who deliberately do the wrong thing. The ATO-led Serious Financial Crime Taskforce (SFCT) was established to respond to this, targeting the more serious financial crimes in Australia.
The case studies on this page reinforce that those who deliberately cheat the system will be held to account.
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Jail time takes the shine off gold bullion fraud
Attempts to commit gold bullion fraud didn’t have the outcome 2 fraudsters had planned.
The investigation, conducted under the ATO-led Serious Financial Crime Taskforce (SFCT), revealed that Cedric Adrian Millner and Jonatan Kelu purchased GST-free gold bullion, refashioned it into scrap and then sold it inclusive of GST to a refiner. Millner and Kelu claimed GST input tax credits by falsely stating that the GST-free gold bullion was purchased inclusive of GST under the GST second-hand rules.
The reward for engaging in this complex $40 million fraud activity was a sentence of 8 years in jail for both men, handed down in the Supreme Court of NSW.
These criminals thought their actions would go undetected, but our expert team of investigators uncovered the fraud and worked to solve the case, bringing together thousands of documents and multiple data sets to form a solid brief that would ultimately be their downfall.
Operation Nosean was established to look at network participants in the gold bullion and precious metals industry. This included refiners, bullion dealers, gold kiosks, dealers and buyers within established supply chains involved in gold recycling arrangements, seeking to exploit the GST rules in relation to precious metals.
New laws were introduced in April 2017 to combat fraud in the gold bullion and precious metals industry.
Our message is clear to those who seek to evade or cheat the tax system: there is no place for you to hide and we will not tolerate this behaviour.
For more information see:
- Reverse charge in the valuable metals industry
- SFCT intelligence bulletin (PDF, 119KB)This link will download a file
- From gold bars to iron bars
Previous case studies
Second sentencing for Australia's largest tax fraud case
On 29 March 2018, Michael Issakidis faced the Supreme Court of NSW for his involvement in the largest prosecuted tax fraud case in Australia’s history.
Alongside his co-conspirator Anthony Dickson, Issakidis deliberately absorbed $450 million of otherwise assessable income. He did this through the use of complex domestic and international trust and tax evasion structures. This caused a loss to the Commonwealth of $135 million. By creating a web of false identities and siphoning money offshore, the pair acquired approximately $63 million.
Issakidis was sentenced to 10 years and three months jail for his involvement in the operation. This followed the 2015 sentencing of Dickson, whose original 11-year sentence was increased to 14 years on appeal.
The significant penalties handed down to both Issakidis and Dickson demonstrate the success of the SFCT in dealing with those who deliberately cheat the system. As a member of the SFCT, we are equipped with the resources, data-matching capability and international and domestic intelligence-sharing relationships to uncover even the most complex tax evasion schemes.
People who deliberately avoid paying the correct amount of tax will be caught and will face the full force of the law.
Find out more about how the scam was set up and where the funds were moved to (PDF, 337KB)This link will download a file. Also available in text (HTML) format.
For more information see: