Today, arrests were made in what appears to be the largest white collar crime syndicate in Australia’s history. Nine people were arrested and charged over the last few days, including deputy Taxation Commissioner Michael Cranston and his son, Michael Cranston.
The Australian Federal Police have seized;
- 25 cars
- $15 million in accounts
- 18 residential properties
- 12 motorbikes
- 2 aircraft
- $1 million in cash
Investigations have gone back to June 2016.
So how did they do it?
The AFP will allege that the conspirators were involved in running a legitimate payroll company and accepted money from clients to process payroll on their behalf.
That money was transferred to subcontracted companies (tier-two companies) which then made the payroll payments (so far, legal).
If operating legally, these tier-two companies would make regular payroll payments to their client’s employees. Part of these regular payroll payments is the withholding of Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) tax, which is then remitted to the ATO.
The AFP allege that only a small figure was forwarded to the ATO, with the rest pocketed by the syndicate members through a sophisticated network of companies and trusts.
The charges laid involve two counts of money laundering and eight charges of attempting to defraud the Commonwealth, which carries a maximum sentence of ten years.