Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

Tax fraudster sentenced

Date of Publication: 
22 November 2016

A 41 year old man, Kritsakul Thavapitak was sentenced in the New South Wales District Court to two years imprisonment following his part in a refund fraud syndicate that used identity crime to impersonate tax payers and lodge fraudulent refund claims. The matter was investigated by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) culminating in money laundering charges.

Over a two month period in 2010, Thavapitak received and dealt with $82,879 in fraudulent tax refunds. The fraudulent tax refunds stemmed from a series of frauds committed on the ATO, involving the lodgement of 13 false income tax returns on behalf of 13 unknowing or unwitting taxpayers.

The tax refunds were paid into 10 separate bank accounts controlled by Thavapitak and spent by him, mostly via ATM and bank branch cash withdrawals.

Her Honour Judge Sweeney reinforced that general deterrence is an important factor for money laundering offences. Her Honour also ordered Thavapitak be released on a recognizance release order after serving 15 months in custody, on condition that he pay security of $1,000 to be of good behaviour for 9 months and to also pay reparation of $82,879 to the Commonwealth.

ATO Deputy Commissioner Michael Cranston said that the ATO takes all forms of tax crime very seriously.

“Most people do the right thing, but those who intentionally commit tax fraud are stealing from the entire community and will be brought to account for their actions. We use sophisticated data analytical models to detect this type of activity and work closely with law enforcement and a growing network of partners to investigate and prosecute these criminals. We will use the full force of the law when required,” Mr Cranston said.

James Carter, Deputy Director, Revenue and Benefits Fraud, Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions said that “this prosecution demonstrates the seriousness of fraudulent conduct undertaken for personal gain”.

If you are aware of fraudulent behaviour in our community you can report it confidentially at ato.gov.au/reportaconcern or call 1800 060 062.

For more information on the enforcement efforts of the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce, visit the website.