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Bogus accountant gets 4 years’ jail for $1 million in tax fraud and theft

A South Auckland “tax agent” without any accounting qualifications has been sentenced to four years in prison for tax fraud and theft from his clients.

Pranesh Nandan, a migrant from Fiji, established Nesh and Jay’s Accounting Professionals Limited in Manukau City in 2013. He generated clients mainly through social media advertising, claiming to be a chartered accountant despite having no qualifications.

Over a three-year period he filed 68 false GST returns on behalf of his clients and entities he controlled. The returns contained significantly inflated expenses, resulting in refunds of $652,064 being paid into accounts he controlled.

Nandan also spent on himself another $285,306 which had been deposited into Nesh and Jay’s bank accounts by clients to meet their tax obligations. The total amount of money defrauded from Inland Revenue and his clients was $937,370.

Patrick Goggin, Inland Revenue’s Group Manager Investigations and Advice, said Nandan was an opportunist fraudster who thought he could cheat the tax system by playing on his clients’ trustworthy nature.

“Mr Nandan came up with a devious plan to rip off honest New Zealand taxpayers and his clients, and then spent nearly a million dollars on overseas travel and flash European cars,” Mr Goggin said. “His clients were completely unaware he was making these false claims on their behalf or that his claim to be a chartered accountant was a lie.”

Nandan admitted when confronted by Inland Revenue investigators that he had made up the figures in the false returns and knew it was also wrong to steal from his clients money that was earmarked for tax.

“We take this sort of offending extremely seriously and the public should be assured that tax cheats won’t get away with stealing money that would normally go towards funding vital services such as hospitals, schools and roads.”

Media contact: Pete van Schaardenburg, 021 348696