Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

Rishi KHANDELWAL

Year: 
2016-2017
Category: 
Tax Fraud
Location: 
Australian Capital Territory

On 22 June 2017, Rishi Khandelwal, 34, was sentenced to three years and two months' imprisonment in the Canberra Supreme Court, after he stole more than $1 million by using overseas students' names to make false tax claims between 2008 and 2010.

Khandelwal, a public servant during the two-year charge period, lodged 302 false tax returns with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to obtain tax refunds that were paid into accounts controlled by him. In total he embezzled $1,069,556.62.

Each fake return Khandelwal lodged for an Australian taxpayer stated that an amount of income had been withheld by an employer. However all the details lodged with the ATO—those relating to the taxpayer, employer, the income earned and the amount withheld by the employer—were false.

Khandelwal was originally convicted of 302 charges of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception in the ACT Magistrates Court on 5 July 2016. He was sentenced to four years imprisonment to be served by way of an Intensive Corrections Order, which involved carrying out 500 hours of community service.

The Crown appealed the sentence saying it was inadequate. On 22 June 2017, the appeal was upheld and Acting Justice Ashford re-sentenced Khandelwal to 3 years and 2 months’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 1 year and 7 months. He will be eligible for parole on 10 January 2019.

Charges/sentence

On 22 June 2017, Rishi Khandelwal was sentenced to three years and two months' imprisonment with a non-parole period of one year and seven months, in relation to:

  • 302 counts of obtaining a financial advantage by deception, contrary to section 134.2(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).

Sentencing remarks

The Court found the sentence imposed by the original Magistrate on 5 July 2016 was manifestly inadequate, and that a sentence other than full-time imprisonment failed to act as general deterrence nor reflect the objective seriousness of the offences.

Acting Justice Ashford described Khandelwal’s fraud as “elaborate, planned and sophisticated”, and said it was “committed for greed”. She said a sentence of imprisonment was the only appropriate penalty.