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Former Australian Tax Officer Jailed For Fraud

by Mary Swire, for LawAndTax-News.com, Hong Kong

09 February 2007


A former Australian Tax Office contractor was last week sentenced to five years jail in the ACT Supreme Court, for fraud totalling almost $800,000.

Stephen Anthony Bell of Melbourne was found guilty of 28 charges, including: 16 counts of obtaining a financial advantage by deception, 11 counts of money laundering and one charge of unauthorised access to computer data with intent to commit a serious offence.

The court heard that Bell established three self managed superannuation funds, and illegally accessed Tax Office systems to obtain superannuation guarantee information from a number of taxpayers.

He then submitted fraudulent forms on behalf of these taxpayers so that their super guarantee entitlements were paid into his own self-managed superannuation funds.

Tax Commissioner Michael D’Ascenzo sought to reassure Australian taxpayers that the Tax Office takes the privacy of their information very seriously, arguing that:

“No level of unauthorised access is acceptable, especially when it is used to commit fraud. The sentencing sends a strong message to the community that we will not hesitate to act where we see misuse of taxpayer information."

He added:

“While the majority of our staff do the right thing it is inevitable that in a large organisation there will be a small number of people tempted to do the wrong thing."

“We are continuously reviewing our internal processes to monitor and detect any inappropriate behaviour."


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