Friday, 20 September 2019 Sydney
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Two tax agents sentenced for fraud::

A 55 year old man, Artin Etmekdjian, was sentenced in the Sydney Downing Centre Local Court yesterday to 7 months imprisonment, after being convicted of dishonestly attempting to influence a Commonwealth official.

The conviction is the result of a successful ATO investigation that proved the tax agent and former mayor had backdated documents linked to the tax returns of a senior banker. The documents were provided to the ATO during an audit of the banker’s tax affairs.

Mr Etmekdjian will serve the sentence by way of an Intensive Correction Order.

The verdict follows another sentencing on Monday in Sydney of registered tax agent, Salvatore Arcuri, for attempting to lodge two tax returns into his own name. Arcuri had pleaded not guilty, and was sentenced to 18 months with a minimum non-parole of 12 months. He is currently in custody for state related fraud offences however his tax fraud offences pre-date these, and his sentence will be served concurrently.

ATO Deputy Commissioner Michael Cranston said the ATO will find and prosecute those who try to cheat the tax system.

“As tax agents, these people should have known better, and clearly understood that they were breaking the law. If you willingly try to cheat the tax system we will make sure you face the consequences of your actions,” Mr Cranston said.

“You can’t hide from the ATO. We have sophisticated systems in place to detect this kind of activity and work closely with law enforcement partners to share data and investigate tax fraud and crime.”

The matters are being referred to the Tax Practitioners Board which ensures that registered tax practitioners meet appropriate standards of professional and ethical conduct.

Deputy Commissioner Cranston says the sentences send a clear warning to those who are in a position of trust not to abuse it.

“Professional advisors play an important role in helping us to maintain the integrity of the Australian tax system and ensure people meet their tax obligations. The community and other advisors who operate within the law expect us to bring people to account for their behaviour – and we will,” Mr Cranston said.

If you are aware of fraudulent behaviour you can report if confidentially at ato.gov.au/reportaconcern or call 1800 060 062.