Multi-pronged student visa tax sting lands man in jail


A Victorian computer networking student who spoofed Tax File Numbers and used them to lodge dodgy tax returns has been sentenced to two years and three months in jail.

The 31-year old, studying in Australia on a student visa, was charged for dealing with proceeds of crime to the tune of $117,540 between 2014-15 and attempting to fraudulently obtain $22,180 in 2013.

His brother and a mutual friend, also international students studying in Australia on visas, were also involved in the scheme, the County Court of Victoria heard.

It was alleged they obtained the visa details of other students residing in Australia, using them to generate TFNs which were then used to lodge dodgy income tax returns, payable to accounts held in their names.

A host of regulators, including the ATO, Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force and the Commonwealth Director of Prosecutions were mobilised to investigate the scheme.

In a public statement issued on Tuesday — titled “computer networking student’s next assignment: networking in jail” —  ATO assistant commissioner Peter Vujanic said the jail term reflects the “seriousness of the crimes committed”.

“Contrary to popular belief, tax crime is not victimless: when you claim a refund you’re not entitled to you are stealing from the whole community and disadvantaging Australians who do the right thing,” he said.

“This sentence highlights the effectiveness of a coordinated response to tax fraud and crime and is a testament to the working relationship between the ATO, AFP, ABF and the CDPP,” Vujanic said.

NOW READ: “Brazen fraud”: Melbourne businessman sentenced to four years jail over $1 million in GST refunds to ATO

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