A student of Victorian computer networking who lodged dodgy tax returns via copied tax numbers will now spend two and a quarter years behind bars.
Between 2014 and 2015, the 31-year old who is in Australia on a student visa received proceeds of crime in the range of $117,540 and attempted getting $22,180 via fraud the year before, 2013, according to charges.
According to the Victoria County Court, he was aided in the scheme by two other international students – his brother and a common friend.
Tax Crime not Victimless
The details of the visa to many other students living in Australia were used by these three international students to generate Tax File Numbers (TFNs). After that dodgy income tax returns were lodged and were to be paid into accounts bearing their names, the court heard.
The scheme was uncovered by a number of regulators in the country. Australian Taxation Office (ATO), Australian Border Force (ABF), Australian Federal Police, and the director of prosecutions for Commonwealth were all part of the investigation.
On Tuesday 5 March, Peter Vujanic – assistant commissioner for ATO – said the seriousness of the crime committed is portrayed by the jail term that followed. He said this during a public statement titled “computer networking student’s next assignment: networking in jail.”
The assistant commissioner made it clear that tax crime is not victimless as generally assumed. Claiming a refund that does not belong to you is equivalent to theft from the entire community, hence putting Australians who do the correct thing at a disadvantage, Vujanic said.
He concluded the statement by saying that the investigation of the scheme shows the bond between AFP, ATO, CDPP and the ABF regarding tracking down tax fraud and crime.
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