A former Perth financier was yesterday told he was facing a long term behind bars after he admitted ripping off more than half a million dollars from the Australian Taxation Office by lodging false GST rebate applications.
Gary Andrew Parsons, 53, was extradited to Perth from the US in January last year after an 11-year investigation by the Australian Federal Police and the ATO.
Parsons was due to face trial in the District Court yesterday but instead pleaded guilty to seven counts of obtaining a financial advantage from the Commonwealth by deception and four counts of attempting to obtain a financial advantage by deception.
Prosecutor Linda Black told the court Parsons had worked as a stockbroker and securities dealer in Perth until 2003 when he moved to New York after his marriage broke down.
There, he claimed to be a trader involved in hedge funds and futures broking.
After launching an audit in 2006, the ATO found Parsons was lodging false business activity statements on behalf of seven business entities, claiming GST refunds that he was not entitled to.
Ms Black said Mr Parsons deliberately defrauded the Commonwealth of $517,741 and tried to obtain $10,909 more but the payments were stopped by the ATO.
The court was told Parsons would send hard copies of rebate documents from the US on a monthly or quarterly basis, claiming sums of between $3000 and $4000 per month.
“This was deliberately done ... as he believed that he would be less likely to be audited by the ATO if he sought claims in this region,” Ms Black said.
Parsons failed to provide evidence to verify the claims and attempts to recoup the money were unsuccessful. Records showed the tax refunds were paid into two bank accounts, then transferred to another four accounts.
They included a personal American bank account, a home loan for a property in which his former wife and three children lived and an account held by his former wife.
It was not suggested Parson’s former wife knew the funds were illegally obtained.
Investigators executed a search warrant on Parsons’ New York apartment in 2010 when prosecutors claimed he declined to be interviewed.
The court was told before leaving the US, investigators were told Parsons had left New York and his whereabouts was unknown.
An arrest warrant was issued in 2013, with Parsons eventually extradited from New York four years later.
Parsons was granted bail until he is sentenced next month.
At that hearing, his lawyer Sam Vandongen will make submissions on his behalf.
Judge Michael Bowden told Parsons to get his affairs in order because he was likely facing a significant jail term.