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Plutus Payroll founder Simon Anquetil jailed

The company’s founder and former CEO Simon Anquetil has pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to defraud the Commonwealth and dealing with the proceeds of crime worth $1 million or more.

The founder of Plutus Payroll, the heavily IT industry-focused payroll outsourcing firm that was at the centre of a $165 million tax fraud investigation by the Australian Federal Police (AFP), has been sentenced to more than seven years’ jail time.

The company’s founder and former CEO Simon Anquetil has pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to defraud the Commonwealth and dealing with the proceeds of crime worth $1 million or more, according to joint release by the AFP and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). 

Anquetil was sentenced in the Supreme Court of NSW on 31 July to seven years and six months in jail for his role as a “principal conspirator” in a syndicate that is alleged to have defrauded the Commonwealth of more than $105 million over three years.

According to the agencies, Anquetil was one of the founders of the payroll services company and one of the architects of the fraudulent scheme.

He is the fifth person to be sentenced in relation to the syndicate and was given a non-parole period of five years as a result of Operation Elbrus, the investigation into the company, which commenced in 2016, led by the AFP and ATO. 

The syndicate involved pay-as-you-go withholding tax and goods and services tax fraud. These matters continue to be prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP).

"This offender's behaviour was sophisticated, planned and motivated by greed, resulting in a massive fraud against the revenue, which effectively is a fraud also on all other law-abiding taxpayers who do the right thing and lawfully pay their taxes,” the CDPP's deputy director Berdj Tchakerian said. 

“The CDPP remains steadfast in prosecuting those who engage in this type of offending to the full extent possible."

In mid-July, the fourth person involved with the Plutus Payroll fraud investigation was sentenced to four years’ jail time.

In February, a man described as a “lackey” by his barrister was sentenced to more than three years’ jail for dealing in proceeds of crime in connection with the investigation into Plutus Payroll.

The former outsourced payroll management service company left hundreds of IT contractors around the country without wages for weeks after its accounts were frozen by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) in late April, 2017.