$200K FRAUD: Bay businessman jailed for tax dodge
AN ELI Waters man who defrauded the Australian Taxation Office of more than $200,000 will spend the next year in prison.
Robert Wayne Hill appeared in Hervey Bay District Court yesterday to plead guilty to one count of obtaining a financial advantage by deception.
The 60-year-old was caught providing 26 separate false Business Activity Statements across a two-year period, relating to buying and selling cars.
Commonwealth prosecutor Jessica Williams said an audit found Hill, who had a family partnership with his wife, had been paid $208,280 in Goods and Services Tax refunds between February 2013 and March 2015, which he was not entitled to receive.
Ms Williams said although Hill's wife of 22 years had signed the documents, it was the Hervey Bay father-of-two who was solely responsible for the lodgement of the BAS.
During the investigation, Hill tried to lie to the ATO when questioned on two occasions, at first claiming he had come into inheritance.
The audit showed the money had been used for general living expenses, including groceries and alcohol and some cash withdrawals.
The court heard Hill rang the ATO on 13 occasions, to inquire about the progress of the refunds.
During civil proceedings from the offending, Hill was ordered to pay more than $500,000 in fines, costs and repayments in 2016, causing him to declare bankruptcy.
He has since been sentenced for failing to comply with the bankruptcy.
Ms Williams said Hill had not repaid or made any attempts or arrangements to repay the money to the ATO.
Defence barrister Amelia Loode said Hill and his family moved to Hervey Bay in 2013 in significant debt after they lost their business' kitchen equipment in the 2013 Queensland floods.
Ms Loode said financial stress from his debts and not being paid for his work at a restaurant in Hervey Bay instigated the offending.
She argued Hill's multiple, significant medical problems, including emphysema, osteoporosis and heart disease, would make incarceration more difficult for him than an ordinary prisoner.
Judge Jennifer Rosengren said the offending was "deliberate, systematic and persistent".
"These are not victimless crimes, they are crimes against all Australians and they can be costly to detect," she said.
Hill was convicted and sentenced to three years jail time, to be released after serving 12 months, with an $500 good behaviour bond.