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Tax cheat who lied to his agent is sentenced

A former property developer who attempted to rip off Inland Revenue has been sentenced to six months home detention after being found guilty of providing misleading information.

Acting Group Manager Tony Morris has welcomed the sentence. He said Husain Khalil Al Saffaf, now known as Michael Stacker, was fully aware the money he was claiming in tax returns wasn’t his.

"Despite knowing what he was doing was wrong, Stacker didn’t stop," said Mr Morris. "Honest taxpayers should remember that when people deliberately cheat the tax system, their actions deny others the money that pays for services like our schools and police.

"Stacker, from Auckland’s North Shore, provided misleading information with the intent to obtain a GST refund of $31,537.50 more than he was entitled to," he said.

Stacker was sentenced in the North Shore District Court yesterday after telling his tax agent he had brought assets which he hadn’t.  So, the tax agent unknowingly filed a false tax return on behalf of Dalal Forest Trust which Stacker owned.

"Stacker has been prosecuted by the Serious Fraud Office and convicted for similar offences in the past," said Mr Morris. "He was banned in 2009 from being a company director for five years."

In January 2011, Stacker used an agent to help him find machinery he could buy to harvest and log a forest that he owned in Kaeo.   

For three of the machines chosen, invoices were prepared and made out to the Dalal Forest Trust and corresponding bank cheques obtained but the purchases never took place.

Instead, Stacker re-banked the cheques into his Trust’s account and gave a copy of the invoices and corresponding bank cheques to his tax agent to claim back the GST.

"New Zealand trusts taxpayers to do the right thing, and most do," said Mr Morris. "Stacker deliberately attempted to claim money that wasn’t his and now faces the consequences."

"Offenders will be caught and punished. Stacker is a repeat offender and by trying to cheat the tax system by lying, he has been given home detention and ordered to pay a fine of $5,000." he said.