On 16 September 2016, 46-year-old Lisa Bishop was sentenced in the Brisbane District Court to three years' imprisonment after she pleaded guilty of defrauding the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) of $132,852, and of attempting to defraud a further $73,616, after submitting Business Activity Statements on behalf of herself and another taxpayer.
Bishop submitted false statements over six and a half months to claim GST refunds of $206,468, when no refunds were due. She lodged the fraudulent claims monthly via the online portal, increasing the claimed refunds each time by substantially increasing her alleged capital purchases.
Bishop completely fabricated the claims, however, as she hadn’t incurred any expenses whatsoever and in fact no longer had a business.
On 23 July 2014, Bishop commenced using the genuine details of her former partner to claim refunds, and made five claims in his name. He was unaware Bishop was completing BAS and receiving refunds in his name.
On 31 July 2014, a refund integrity audit was carried out by the ATO on Bishop, and then extended to all BAS lodged from 1 November 2013 to 30 June 2014 for which refunds were paid. A further three audits investigated BAS Bishop had lodged for other periods, and under her former partner’s name.
Of the fraudulent claims Bishop submitted, the ATO paid nine totalling $132,852, with the refunds sent to her bank account.
Charge / Sentence
Bishop was sentenced on 16 September 2016 and pleaded guilty in relation to:
- Nine counts of obtaining a financial advantage by a deception contrary to section 134.2(1) of the Criminal Code
- Five counts of attempting to obtain a financial advantage by a deception contrary to sections 134.2(1) and 11.1 of the Criminal Code
Lisa Bishop was sentenced to three years imprisonment on each count, pursuant to s.20(1)(b) of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) to be released after serving 10 months upon entering into a recognisance in the sum of $1,000, conditioned that she be of good behaviour for a period of three years. Further, ordered pursuant to s.21B to pay reparation of $132,552.00.