Sydney woman gets eight years’ jail for her role in $105 million tax fraud

The syndicate responsible for this large-scale and organised tax fraud conspiracy was dismantled as part of Operation Elbrus.

A Sydney woman has been sentenced to eight years’ jail by the Supreme Court of NSW for her role in a syndicate which conducted a $105 million tax fraud over a three-year period.

The woman, 30, was sentenced to eight years’ jail today (1 May 2023), with a non-parole period of five years’ imprisonment. She was convicted on two charges in the Supreme Court of NSW on 13 March 2023:

  • Conspiracy to dishonestly cause a loss to the Commonwealth, contrary to section 135.4(3) of the Criminal Code (Cth); and
  • Conspiracy to deal with money of a value of $1,000,000 or more believing it to be the proceeds of crime, contrary to sections 11.5(1) and 400.3(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).

The syndicate responsible for this large-scale and organised tax fraud conspiracy was dismantled as part of Operation Elbrus – an investigation led by the AFP, with significant assistance from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as part of the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce (SFCT).

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Operation Elbrus exposed a large-scale and organised tax fraud and money laundering conspiracy that used Plutus Payroll Australia Pty Ltd and other payroll service entities to divert amounts of money payable to the ATO as Pay-As-You-Go Withholding (PAYGW) tax and Goods and Services Tax for the conspirators’ benefit.

The woman jointly exercised day-to-day control over the second tier companies and their bank accounts which were used by the syndicate to withhold money and underpay a portion of the Pay As You Go Withholdings (PAYGW) and GST to the ATO. Her role included using various bank accounts to launder the funds for the financial benefit of the co-conspirators.

AFP Detective Superintendent Kristie Cressy said the money that should have been paid to the ATO from the second tier companies was laundered for the personal benefit of the co-conspirators.

“This sentence should serve as a warning to anyone thinking of trying to defraud the government and fund a lavish lifestyle at the expense of honest Australians,” she said.

“The AFP works with its partners to actively target criminal syndicates who seek to enrich themselves to the detriment of the Australian community. Tax fraud is not a victimless crime and the consequences for committing these types of offences often lead to years in prison.”

Deputy Commissioner and Serious Financial Crime Taskforce Chief John Ford said today’s outcome sends a clear warning to tax cheats that you will be caught, and you will be held to account.

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“This isn’t the case of an accidental oversight – this was blatant and deliberate fraud that robbed the Australian community of funds for important community services.”

The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.