Court hears accountant kept $119,000

AN IPSWICH accountant is on trial for allegedly defrauding two clients of more than $100,000 in tax returns.

Brett Cameron Smallwood, 51, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of fraud with aggravating circumstances and is facing trial at the Ipswich District Court.

According to Crown prosecutor Caroline Marco, Smallwood, through his Ipswich company Beecham-Smallwood, filed tax returns in 2002 for the companies Kensington Investments and for MGB Maintenance Services for the years 1999 and 2000.

More than $64,000 was returned for Kensington Investments and more than $55,000 for MGB Maintenance Services.

Ms Marco said Smallwood deposited the money into his trust account and then used it to pay his own personal legal bills and invest in the company Garden Makers Queensland, which he was the director of.

The court heard Kensington Investments and MGB Maintenance Services didn't receive any of the money from the tax returns.

The Crown case may call up to 20 witnesses, including employees from the Australian Tax Office, Australian Securities and Investment Commission, the Reserve Bank of Australia, bankers, local accountants as well as police officers and police liaison officers with Westpac Bank.

Ms Marco said the defrauding of MGB Maintenance Services was revealed during an investigation into the Garden Makers Queensland accounts regarding Kensington Investment's returns.

The court heard testimony from 87-year-old accountant Denis Cecil Neilsen, who said he noticed discrepancies with Kensington Investments when he took over Smallwood's accounts in 2008. He said no tax returns had been filed for Kensington Investments, which has since taken its business to another accountant, in its years with Beecham-Smallwood.

Mr Neilsen said he looked into its tax history and saw money had been returned for the years 1999 and 2000 and the money had been deposited into Smallwood's trust account. The account's records showed cheques had been withdrawn from the trust account on the same day made out to a law firm and to Garden Makers Queensland.

The court was shown the stub of the cheque book with the legal firm's name on it and Kensington Investments written in bracket.

Ms Marco said the court would hear evidence the legal matter had nothing to do with Kensington Investments and the company hadn't given Smallwood permission to use the money.

She said police found a document in Smallwood's lawyer's office after executing a search warrant stating he had permission to use invest Kensington Investment's money.

However, she said the Crown will allege it was a forged document with Ms Marco stating it was a hand written section on an otherwise typed document.

The trial is expected to last five days.

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