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ATO gets down to business tackling phoenix fraudsters

Australian Taxation Office
Date published
April 2021

Relevant impacts: Financial impact, government outcomes impact, business impact and human impact

A 62-year old man has been charged over phoenix activity that resulted in losses to the Australian Government of over $800,000.

The man allegedly barred employees' PAYG income tax from being paid to the ATO. He also took control of businesses in financial difficulty, issued payment summaries to workers and appointed straw directors to conceal his involvement in the business. It is also alleged that he prevented ATO officers from conducting their duties during a visit.

He was charged with 9 offences of dishonesty and 4 offences for obstructing Australian Government officials.

Related countermeasures

Collaborate with strategic partners such as other government entities, committees, working groups and taskforces. This allows you to share capability, information and intelligence and to prevent and disrupt fraud.

Allow clients, staff and third parties to lodge complaints about actions or decisions they disagree with. This may identify fraud or corruption as a cause for complaints, such as a failure to receive an expected payment.

Internal or external audits or reviews evaluate the process, purpose and outcome of activities. Clients, public officials or contractors can take advantage of weaknesses in government programs and systems to commit fraud, act corruptly, and avoid exposure.

Coordinate disruption activities across multiple programs or entities to strengthen processes and identify serious and organised criminals targeting multiple programs. It can also include referrals to law enforcement agencies for those groups that reach the threshold for complex criminal investigations.

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