Jackson Leon Maxwell Tauhinu plead guilty to three charges of dishonestly using a document to obtain a pecuniary advantage and two charges of knowingly using a forged document to obtain a pecuniary advantage. He was sentenced at the District Court in Christchurch on 8 November.
His defence council claimed Tauhinu was “just a puppet” in the offending and had not actually submitted the false returns and forged documents. He said he plead guilty because he was not willing to share the identity of a gang member behind it.
The judge said that Tauhinu has escaped a prison sentence by the “slimmest of margins”. Judge Couch emphasised the gross breach of trust, noting the tax system relies heavily on people’s honesty.
Tauhinu registered for GST in September 2022 describing his business as a clothing retailer. During the offending he was on a benefit.
He claimed more than $52,000 in refunds. He provided forged documents to try to back up his claims but only got $702.49 of what he asked for.
Inland Revenue told the court as part of the sentencing that offending like this is inherently pre-mediated. Each time Tauhinu filed a GST return or provided “supporting documents” to Inland Revenue, he knew they were forged. He also sent numerous web messages to Inland Revenue in relation to these returns and requests for information.
Tauhinu was ordered to repay the $702.49 he received.