A former senior bank employee, 45-year-old Marius Anton Ackerman, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment with a non-parole period of four years for taxation fraud and ordered to pay $1,104,565.40 in reparation for defrauding Australian tax payers of $1.174million.
Over a two-year period from 2008, Ackerman gave instructions to three registered tax agents to lodge a total of 65 Business Activity Statements (BAS) with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and claimed a total of $1.174 million in GST refunds.
$1,104,565.40 was paid by the ATO into three bank accounts in the names of three companies, of which Ackerman’s wife was the sole director.
Ackerman also created false spreadsheets recording sales made and expenses incurred per day. He supplied these to the Tax Agents he engaged and signed relevant BAS on behalf of two of the companies. In fact, the companies made no sales and no business expenses were incurred—the only income the companies received was money from the ATO.
The money was then utilised on a range of personal expenses, as well as payment of rent for the family home. The ATO asked Ackerman to provide substantive evidence of expenditure. Ackerman acted on the request and gave false invoices from other related entities, as well as an invoice from a friend's company. His scam ended shortly after.
In sentencing Ackerman, His Honour Judge Devereaux SC compared this matter to another famous fraud case of Hili v R and Jones v R, a 2010, a High Court of Australia decision which involved relentless dishonesty and fraudulent conduct over a long period of time.
‘Detection of offending of this kind is not easy. Serious tax fraud, which this was, is offending that affects the whole community,’ said His Honour Judge Devereaux SC.
Deputy Director of the CDPP, James Carter said ‘BAS fraud undermines the integrity of the tax system and this case demonstrates that serious tax fraud leads to substantial gaol sentences.’
CDPP Media Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 02 6206 5708
Marius Anton Ackerman was convicted and sentenced on 18 March 2015 in relation to:
- 56 counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception contrary to section 134.2(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).
- 9 counts of attempting to obtain financial advantage by deception contrary to sections 11.1 and 134.2(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).
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