News

Tax cheat jailed for defrauding ATO of $300k

A 52-YEAR-old Woolooga woman who defrauded the Australian Taxation Office of almost $300,000 was jailed yesterday in Gympie District Court.

Therese Maree Bushell lodged false claims as part of her and her husband's business activity statements (BAS) over a period of three years and nine months, bringing her a total of $284,997 in fraudulent returns.

She pleaded guilty to 27 counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception and six counts of attempting to do so.

The court heard the expense claims, mainly for fuel or GST credits, were made for entities including a cycad plant business and a scrap metal business based out of Woolooga.

The court heard the cycad business, which was established after Bushell had begun lodging false claims for the other businesses, failed due to the 2011 floods.

Justice Fleur Kingham said the offending was not sophisticated but it was consistent.

"IN every bass statement you made, you a made false claim," Justice Kingham said.

The court heard the false claims came to light in 2010 during a routine audit of the businesses.

Bushell was asked to provide statements to prove the claims that were lodged but they could not be substantiated.

In September 2011 police became involved and executed a search warrant on Bushell and her husband's home and businesses before she was charged with fraud.

Justice Kingham said the offending was ripping off the nation, describing the crimes as "most serious offences".

"They are not victimless crimes," she said. "In fact, all citizens suffer as a result of this offending."

Justice Kingham said the cost of Bushell's offending to the government didn't just come from the fraud itself but from the cost of relevant authorities to investigate and collect evidence.

She said she did not believe the offending was a way of funding a "frivolous" lifestyle, but as "a way of keeping struggling businesses running".

Justice Kingham said she could understand how flooding could have contributed to her committing the fraud but she didn't know what pushed Bushell to make the original false claims in 2007, depsite the defence saying Bushell had been under health and other pressures during some of the offending.

After taking numerous factors into account, including Bushell's husband's poor health, her lack of history for dishonesty offences and the nature of the offending, Justice Kingham sentenced Bushell to three years jail.

Bushell will be released on parole after serving 12 months in custody.

Gympie Times

Topics:  australian taxation office, defrauding, gympie magisatrates court




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

'I apologise every day that I am not the person he married'

My battle with postnatal depression...

'My husband lasted 6 weeks as a stay at home dad'

APN Hey Mummy Feature for online - stock images. Katie Dykes being interviewed for the webisodes. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

FROM the outside, being a stay at home mum looks like a breeze.

THE EXPERT: Stop judging working mothers

SUPER MUMS: Being a working mums comes down to perfecting time management.

"WORKING for money is all right; so is working because you want to.”

Health and nutrition with kids - how do you balance it?

HOW important is health and nutrition in your household?

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Technology and kids: Do you ever cut their wi-fi?

Check out our new video series featuring mums having a chat

Community notices

Here's whats on in the Gympie community

Valley defender runs again for the senate

RETURN TO GYMPIE: Greens senate candidate Andrew Bartlett with the party’s Wide Bay candidate Bronwyn Marsh at Gympie pre-polling this week.

Post-dam Bartlett here for poll

Wide Bay candidates: Why you should vote for me

Here's why you should vote for each of Wide bay's candidates

Latest deals and offers

Concern over Smerdon Rd high-density development

Mick Curran talks about the community's concern over the project which was approved...

Dash Cam of Slip in Snow

Even light snow can be hazardous.

Dash cam shows how easy it is to lose control in even light snow.

Chaos outside Istanbul Airport

Turkish police block the road after an suicide bomb attack at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, 28 June 2016. At least 10 people were killed in two separate explosions that hit Ataturk Airport.

Distress as cars escape Istanbul airport after bombing.

Burnett Heads housing development approved

COUNCIL APPROVED: A Burnett Heads housing development has been approved by Bundaberg Regional Council. Photo Contributed

Councillors approved the development seven votes to four

Three bedroom, 1100sqm block: Is this Qld's cheapest home?

BARGAIN BUY: Is this North Bundaberg property the cheapest home in Queensland?

Becoming a real estate mogul is all about risk and reward