Mum ‘led astray’ in huge tax fraud
A "hard working" mother of two was led astray by her partner and became embroiled in an extensive tax fraud which netted the couple hundreds of thousands of dollars, a court has heard.
Todd Patrick Ryan, 45, and Amy Celia Hill, 36, were both found guilty at trial of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage from the Commonwealth for a sustained pattern of fraud which lasted more than a year.
In the District Court on Thursday Craig Caldicott, for Hill, said his client had fallen in love with Ryan who had the air of an enterprising businessman.
"He appeared to be an older and sophisticated man," he said.
"He appeared to be successful. The first time she was aware of the significance of what they had both been doing was when police appeared at their door one morning."
Ryan, a former ATO worker, created numerous companies with which he fraudulently claimed GST rebates in 2011 and 12.
In Business Activity Statements, Ryan claimed the companies were doing millions of dollars in business and that he was entitled to hundreds of thousands of dollars in refunds from the Commonwealth.
Alarm bells started to ring with his employers when Ryan had ten companies registered in his name.
To escape the scrutiny, he recruited the then 27-year-old Hill to register companies in her own name.
He went so far as to prepare a script for her to read when calling the ATO to discuss the companies in her name and the tax rebate she was owed.
Court documents show Ryan scammed $330,235 and attempted to rip off another $75,685.
Hill was charged with being part of the scheme to illegally obtain $136,861.
Ryan portrayed his life as being glamorous with photos adorning his social media of him on jet skis, at the Melbourne Cup and on expensive holidays.
In reality, his post tax income was a modest $43,000 a year.
Dressed in a suit with carefully maintained grey hair, Ryan was brought to court from Mobilong Prison where he was been detained since he failed to arrive for his trial late last year.
He sat impassively as Mr Caldicott described how his client had been drawn into a web of fake companies and lies.
"She is a hard working mum with two children and doing the best she can," Mr Caldicott said.
"She was led astray into this.
"It is very serious offending where the amount of money is $136,000. But we say she didn't knowingly receive any of the money for her own use.
"She paid for her own part of the overseas trips, she paid for the rent. There was money moving in and out of her accounts but we say that Ryan did that."
Mr Caldicott asked Judge Julie McIntyre to suspend any sentence given to his client so she could continue to contribute to the community.
Chris Allen, for Ryan, asked for a brief adjournment of his own submissions while more reports are prepared.
The case will come back before the District Court later this month.
Originally published as Mum 'led astray' in huge tax fraud