Tax Cheats Jailed for $4.5 Million Dollar Fraud

Three men were today sentenced to over eleven years combined jail time for their involvement in tax fraud worth more $4.5 million.

Ian Henke, Robin Huston and Brian Fox were each charged with conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth for their role as promoters of an asset-stripping scheme which mirrored elements of the infamous ‘bottom of the harbour’ schemes of the 1970s and 80s.

Through use of an intricate arrangement the Vanuatu based asset-stripping scheme was designed to leave Australian companies in a position where they were unable to pay their tax liabilities. Almost 70 companies in Australia participated in the arrangement.

“Australia will not stand for these type of illegal scheme arrangements,” Tax Commissioner Michael D’Ascenzo said after the hearing today.

“This finding shows scheme promoters that regardless of the type of scheme they use, it will be exposed and justice will be served.

“Those who participate and promote these schemes burden the majority of Australian taxpayers who do the right thing. Tax funds vital community and government programs that the community relies upon.

“If you are participating in an illegal scheme, particularly those using overseas tax secrecy jurisdictions, it is only a matter of time before we find you. This is the same clear message that we are sending to the community through Project Wickenby.”

Reduced penalties can apply for those who come forward to the ATO. To discuss your situation or to make an offshore voluntary disclosure, contact the ATO on 1300 132 346.

Ian Henke was sentenced to four and a half years jail with a non-parole period of 12 months, Robin Huston was sentenced to four years jail with a non-parole period of ten months and Brian Fox was sentenced to three years and nine months jail with a non-parole period of nine months.


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