A South Australian man has been sentenced to an additional 10 years’ jail after he was found guilty of claiming $3.8 million through fuel rebates.
The man, Reginald Roberts, claimed the money by creating fake transport businesses and then lodging false rebate claims between 2002 and 2006.
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The Australian Tax Office (ATO) on Friday revealed Roberts had created three companies with the purpose of claiming the rebates, and used false identities to submit some 75 fraudulent claims for more than 20 million litres of fuel.
However, investigations discovered there were no trucks registered to the business names and subsequent searches of Roberts’ home and business found no business records.
Roberts used the Diesel and Alternative Fuel Grants Scheme and the Energy Grants Credit Scheme to reap the millions, before the schemes were replaced by fuel tax credits.
The additional 10 years’ jail brings his jail time to 20 years and six months, in addition to Roberts’ sentence for an existing drug offence.
“This outcome demonstrates the ATO’s commitment to detecting and prosecuting tax crimes, no matter how long it has been,” ATO Assistant Commissioner Ian Read said.
“We have a duty to the community to protect the integrity of the tax and super systems, and we have no tolerance for blatant fraud like we have seen in this case.”
He said Roberts had obtained an “unfair advantage” over people doing the right thing and had stolen millions that could otherwise have been spent on essential services.
“Tax crime is not victimless.”
Judge Simon Stretton described the ATO’s investigation as a “Herculean” task, with Read adding that this case highlighted the ATO’s ability to detect crime.
“We undertake targeted compliance activity to address aggressive claiming and deliberate non-compliance and while most people do the right thing, those who deliberately try to cheat the tax system can expect to feel the full force of the law.”