A QUEENSLAND man has been arrested and charged with more than 100 fraud offences after he allegedly used a bunch of stolen identities to lodge 63 fake tax returns online totalling more than half a million dollars.
The 25-year-old man was arrested today following a major joint investigation between the Financial and Cyber Crime Group, State Crime Command and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
Police allege the man from Pine Rivers used 42 bank accounts and 54 stolen tax file numbers to lodge 63 fraudulent returns and scam $566,762 from the ATO between September 2015 and July 2016.
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The dodgy returns were lodged online using the do-it-yourself service myTax, police said. The online service is promoted by the ATO as the “quick, easy, safe and secure way for you to prepare and lodge your own tax return”.
The 25-year-old man is due to reappear in the Pine Rivers Magistrates Court on October 23.
Detective Superintendent Terry Lawrence of the Financial and Cyber Crime Group said the result was “pleasing”.
“This is a further development in our inter-agency relationship which does not bode well for offenders,” he said.
“We would ask members of the community to maintain control of their personal identification information to reduce the instance of this and other fraudulent crimes occurring.”
ATO Deputy Commissioner Will Day said the joint investigation was a strong example of the results that can be achieved when agencies work together, sharing intelligence and investigation tools.
“The ATO uses sophisticated data analysis tools to catch criminals who attempt to break the law,” Mr Day said.
“These alleged crimes are serious. For those who deliberately try to defraud the Commonwealth and rip off honest taxpayers, our message is simple – you will be caught, and you will face prosecution.”
Mr Day also said this is a timely reminder to all taxpayers to keep their identifying information, like tax file numbers, bank account details and their date of birth, secure.
“Fraudsters can steal personal identification information using various methods from sources outside of the ATO.”
“This information is then used to impersonate ATO clients and lodge fraudulent tax returns.”
Anyone with information which could assist police in detecting further scams should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously on 1800 333 000.
Anyone who believes their personal identifying information, including their TFN, may have been lost, stolen or misused, should contact the ATO Client Identity Support Centre immediately on 1800 467 033.