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2007 media releases

Inland Revenue welcomes prison sentence for GST fraud
25 May 2007

A Nelson businessman was jailed today for 18 months on three charges of GST fraud totalling $81,211.

Graham Stuart Cooper, a partner of Richmond Delivery Services, had earlier pleaded guilty on three counts of knowingly providing false GST returns to obtain refunds from 6 October 2005 to 3 April 2006.  Mr Cooper was given leave to apply for home detention.

The Nelson District Court had heard that Mr Cooper ran Richmond Delivery Services with his partner, however the financial management and day to day business operations were solely done by the defendant. 

Inland Revenue began an audit into the partnership's tax affairs in April last year and found substantial differences between the total purchases and expenses claimed in the GST returns from October 2005. The defendant and his partner were interviewed and Mr Cooper admitted he may have made a mistake with the three tax returns.  The first return resulted in a refund for him of $11, 943; the second return resulted in a refund of $28,765 and the third - $43,997.

Mr Cooper's partner told the investigators she had very little involvement with the business.  She realised later that a $30,000 family inheritance that Mr Cooper told her he had received was in fact a GST refund.

In June 2006 Mr Cooper visited the Inland Revenue offices in Nelson and admitted he had filed three false claims, and that he had signed his partner's name on one of the returns.

In sentencing the Judge noted that aggravating factors were prior dishonesty offences, the amount involved, the short period of time over which the offending took place and the premeditated, deliberate and repetitive nature of the offending.

After the sentencing, Lynley Sutherland, of Inland Revenue said the prison term reflects the importance the Courts place on the integrity of the system Mr Cooper set out to deceive.

"It gives a strong message to those who deliberately attempt to defraud the revenue and shows the consequences of being found out.  It also sends a message to people in the community that fraudsters will be caught and the Courts will deal severely with them," said Ms Sutherland, Area Manager Investigations.


For further information contact:

Alison Welch

Acting Senior Media Adviser

04 890 6189

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Communications and Inquiry
Inland Revenue

To make a media query:
Phone 04 890 1698 or email
Please note, the email address is only for enquiries from the news media. It is monitored during normal business hours 8am - 5pm Monday to Friday.

P O Box 2198
Wellington 6140
New Zealand

Date published: 25 May 2007

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