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Jail sentence handed down for $17 million of GST fraud

A Gisborne man has been sentenced to 8-years 6-months in jail after being found guilty on 39 charges of dishonestly claiming and receiving over $17 million of GST refunds.

John Richard Bracken committed the offences between 2014 and 2018 and refused to recognise the validity of the charges. Justice Graham Lang found him guilty on all charges following 8-days of court hearing in Gisborne.

Over four years, Bracken had filed GST returns related to fictitious business transactions that appeared to entitle his company to GST refunds. Forged invoices had been created to support the transactions and the GST refund claims.

A person involved in preparing invoices for Bracken had contacted the Serious Fraud Office in 2017. The person had been concerned about whether what she was doing for Bracken was legal.
Inland Revenue began investigating Bracken’s activities early in 2018 after being contacted by the Serious Fraud Office.

Inland Revenue’s Legal Services Leader, Karen Whitiskie said IR was pleased with the sentence handed down and that it served as a warning to anyone who thought they could get away with such attempts at tax fraud.

“There are many ways in which this type of offending comes to our attention and in this case, it was the actions of a concerned person who suspected dishonesty,” she said.

“It just reinforces the fact that if people are trying to rort the system, they will be caught, one way or the other.”