/ 22 March 2023

A taxing trial comes to a close

Australian money

An 11-month trial in the NSW Supreme Court over one of Australia’s largest tax fraud cases wrapped up yesterday with the 5th defendant Patrick Willmott found guilty. Willmott joins siblings Adam and Lauren Cranston – the children of former Australian Taxation Office (ATO) Deputy Commissioner Michael Cranston (who has not been accused of wrongdoing), along with lawyer Dev Menon and Jason Onley in being found guilty of defrauding the ATO of $105 million. Between 2014 and 2017, the group used legitimate company Plutus Payroll to collect wages from employers and send tax payments that should have gone to the ATO to ‘2nd tier’ companies with dummy directors. They then spent the money on extravagant purchases until the scam was uncovered by the Federal Police. Justice Anthony Payne thanked the jurors for their long service, saying they would be exempt from jury duty for 20 years. You take what you can get…

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