The former director of Queensland-based Coolum Telecoms has been sentenced to two and a half years in jail for GST fraud and ordered to bay back over $200,000, according to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
Sentenced in the Maroochydore District Court, Justine Ibbetson was found to have unlawfully lodged 10 false business activity statements (BAS) overstating the company’s GST credits and refunds owed, totalling $200,533, during her time as director, the ATO said in a statement.
Ibbetson also attempted to obtain an extra $55,413 in fraudulent refunds, but was stopped by an audit into Coolum Telecoms by the ATO.
In addition to jail time, Ibbetson has been ordered to pay the money back to the ATO.
Shane Strong, acting assistant commissioner, said the ATO has "no tolerance for blatant fraud", which he said was seen in this case.
“Those who are caught deliberately trying to cheat the tax system can expect to feel the full force of the law, including large fines and even jail time," Strong said.
“Tax fraud is not a victimless crime – those who engage in this criminal behaviour are effectively stealing from the pockets of taxpayers and obtaining an unfair advantage over those who do the right thing.”
Coolum Telecoms is no longer in operation with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) deregistering the company in April 2017.