ATO Deputy Commissioner's son bailed over alleged $165m tax fraud

The son of ATO deputy commissioner Michael Cranston has been released on bail after he faced court on charges related to a tax fraud scheme which allegedly robbed taxpayers of $165 million.

Adam Cranston, 30, appeared via video link at Central Local Court today charged with conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth.

He was released on bail as were two others also allegedly involved in the criminal syndicate.

Adam Cranston on his wedding day to wife Elizabeth. There is no suggestion Elizabeth was involved in the alleged syndicate. Source: Facebook

A further two people are expected to appear at Central Local Court via video link later today.

Adam's Cranston's sister, Lauren Anne Cranston, has also been arrested and is due to face court in mid-June.

Their father, deputy commissioner Michael Cranston, has been issued with a court attendance notice for allegedly publicly abusing his position as a public officer, the Australian Federal Police said today.

Adam Cranston was one of nine people arrested by the Australian Federal Police when they raided his Bondi flat and 26 other properties over a fraud syndicate worth $165 million. Source: NSW Police

Adam Cranston and his 24-year-old sister were two of nine people arrested when the AFP raided his Bondi flat and 26 other properties over the fraud syndicate, seizing $15 million in cash and an array of luxury items.

Other items seized included 25 motor vehicles, luxury racing cars, 18 residential properties, 12 motorbikes, more than 100 bank accounts and share trading accounts, two aircraft, firearms, vintage wines and jewellery.

AFP Operations Deputy Commisioner Leanne Close said that the more than 298 officers were involved in bringing down the “significant defrauding of the Commonwealth”.

“The scale of this alleged fraud is unprecedented for the AFP; the response from our members yesterday is a direct response to the level of offending that we have identified during this operation,” she said.

Adam Cranston is the son of ATO Deputy Commissioner Michael Cranston (pictured).

"The allegation in this conspiracy is $165 million taken from the taxation system. That is $165 million that has been stolen from the community, in effect Australia.

"The charges include conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth, charges in respect of dealing with property that we reasonably suspect being involved in crime."

Millions were seized during the sting. Source: AFP

It's alleged the fraud involved a payroll company which would funnel wage payments through a second tier company, and then only pay the ATO a fraction of the income tax required.

Michael Cranston was issued a court attendance notice for allegedly abusing his position as a public official, but he was not part of the criminal syndicate. He and his daughter will appear in court on June 13.

Meanwhile, Treasurer Scott Morrison has warned those trying to rip off taxpayers that they will be caught, following the dramatic arrest.

Many luxury watches were also discovered. Source: AFP

"Those who think they can defraud Australian taxpayers - today's events show that they have another thing coming," Mr Morrison told reporters on Thursday.

"We'll find you, we'll track you down and we'll make sure you're brought to justice."

Mr Morrison said the latest bust, believed to be one of the biggest fraud cases in Australian history, shows the cross-agency crackdown on tax cheats is working.

A luxury racing car was also seized in the operation. Source: AFP

The government was giving further resources to the ATO and others to disrupt the black economy and serious organised crime.

Adam Cranston is due to appear again at Downing Centre Local Court on August 29.