ATO senior official and pregnant daughter face court over tax fraud scheme

The Australian Taxation Office’s Deputy Commissioner has fronted court for the first time since news broke of an investigation into a $130 million tax fraud scheme.

Michael Bede Cranston, 59, was charged on May 17 and will remain suspended during legal proceedings.

Police allege he tried to have a look at restricted ATO information on behalf of his son, Adam Cranston, who was allegedly running the scheme.


Two ATO assistant commissioners, who it is claimed were told by Mr Cranston to look up information, have also been stood down.

Police don’t believe Mr Cranston had any knowledge of the tax fraud syndicate his children were allegedly involved in.

In an intercepted phone call in late January, Adam Cranston told tax lawyer and alleged syndicate member Dev Menon that he was getting his father to “look into” garnishee orders served on some of their companies

“He is looking into it but considering he doesn’t know about it, it can’t be like the biggest thing since Ben Hur,” Adam Cranston allegedly told Mr Menon.

Adam and Lauren Cranston are among nine charged over the scheme that that skimmed $130 million through a web of payroll administration companies.

On Tuesday, Michael and Lauren Cranston appeared in the Downing Centre Local Court for the first mention of their criminal charges.

Prosecutor David Moorhouse said the brief of evidence would be served on their lawyers by August 8 and the matter would return to court on August 29.

Lauren Cranston, 24, is due to give birth at the end of July.