Kiwi flees fraud court
THE Australian Federal Police will look to arrest a Sunshine Coast man who has escaped to New Zealand amid allegations he tried to defraud the Federal Government of $6.7 million.
A warrant has been issued for the arrest of William Galbraith MacDonachie, who failed to show up to Maroochydore District Court yesterday on a charge of trying to obtain a financial advantage by deception.
He is accused of making false claims to the Australian Taxation Office in 2009, declaring he was owed $6.7 million.
Defence lawyer Michael Robinson said Mr MacDonachie had travelled home to New Zealand in January and had no intentions of returning until next month despite knowing he was required at court yesterday.
Mr Robinson said he was in email contact with Mr MacDonachie as recently as this week and said his client appeared to suffer from mental health issues.
He said he had no "direct instructions" of Mr MacDonachie's intentions in regards to the attempted fraud charge.
"His instructions to me are to try and have this matter disposed of without his attendance," Mr Robinson said.
Judge Gary Long said that would not happen and ordered the arrest warrant.
"Your client knew that he needed to be here today," he said.
"Mr Robinson, in your communications with him you may explain options available to him to minimise the effect (of an arrest)."
Mr MacDonachie is pursuing a work compensation claim through a Sunshine Coast-based law firm and said he did not intend to return to Australia until a meeting regarding the compensation claim next month.
Commonwealth prosecutor Jessica Williams told the court Mr MacDonachie had breached his bail by not advising authorities that he no longer lived at the Maroochydore address previously listed.
Ms Williams said a notice to appear in court was served at his old Maroochydore address.
Further investigations revealed the electricity bill had at the listed address had been taken over by new residents.