A South Australian man has been given an additional 10 years in jail for duping the taxpayer out of almost $4-million by claiming false fuel rebates. This is in addition to 10 years that he is already serving for drug offences.
Reginald Roberts is thus serving just over 20 years for the combined offences, following the latest sentence imposed by the District Court of South Australia. He has a non-parole period of 14 years.
According to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), Roberts was operating trucking businesses in SA and created three additional companies – Double R Logistics, Inter Link Freight Services and Phillip Williams Pty Ltd.
Convicted man used false identities and lodged fraudulent claims
He then used false identities and lodged 75 fraudulent claims for more than 20-million litres of fuel, with no evidence that it was ever purchased or used.
The claims were made from the since-discontinued Diesel and Alternative Fuels Grants Scheme, and the Energy Grants Credit Scheme. These were designed to allow heavy road transport businesses to claim back 18.51 cents per litre of fuel used. They have subsequently been replaced by fuel tax credits.
Following investigation, it was found that no trucks were registered to the businesses at the time, while searches at Roberts’ home and business found no business records for the companies.
Assistant Commissioner Ian Read of the ATO welcomed the sentence handed down by the court.
Australian Tax Office has no tolerance for this kind of blatant fraud
“We have a duty to the community to protect the integrity of the tax and super systems, and we have no tolerance for blatant fraud like we have seen in this case,” he said.
“Mr Roberts obtained an unfair advantage over Australians who are doing the right thing, robbing the Australian economy of millions that could have been spent on essential services. Tax crime is not victimless.
“Our investigation of large quantities of irrelevant documentation provided by Mr Roberts was described as a ‘Herculean task’ by … Judge Stretton. This matter demonstrates we have the resources to actively uncover those trying to cheat the tax system.”
The ATO says it has approximately 256,000 clients registered for fuel tax credits and generally sees high levels of compliance.