Truckie on trial over $3.8m tax office rort
A trucking boss fraudulently scammed more than $3.8 million from the Australian Taxation Office over 3.5 years by creating three bogus transport companies to falsely claim fuel rebates, a court has heard.
Reginald George Roberts, 67, is standing trial in the District Court charged with 75 counts of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage from the Commonwealth between December 2002 and June 2006.
Opening the trial on Thursday, Jeff Powell, prosecuting, said Roberts created three bogus companies - RR Logistics, Inter Link Freight Services and Phillip Williams Pty Ltd - and used false identities to lodge 75 false claims totalling "multi-thousands" in rebates each month.
He said Roberts registered the businesses for rebates from the ATO's Diesel and Alternative Fuels Grant Scheme and the Energy Grants Credits Scheme.
"These were companies that were created and came to exist for that very purpose of fraudulently obtaining so-called diesel fuel rebates from those two schemes," Mr Powell said.
Each of the schemes enabled legitimate heavy road transport companies to claim back 18.51 centre per litre of fuel used each month, provided the companies retain records of invoices and fuel usage for five years.
But, Mr Powell said an ATO audit found no vehicles were registered to any of the three fake companies.
He told the jury that despite searches of Roberts' Waterloo Corner property and the offices of his accountants, investigators were unable to find any documents proving three of the businesses linked to Roberts were legitimate.
Mr Powell told the jury Roberts used two fake identities to open bank accounts for the businesses, and hundreds of thousands of dollars of rebate money paid into those business bank accounts was then transferred into Roberts' personal and business accounts.
The jury heard that reasons including paperwork containing the same misspelling of the word paid as "payed" and received as "recived", a matching finger and palm print on one claim form and the use of a false drivers licence Roberts had used a decade earlier all linked him to the company Phillip Williams Pty Ltd.
"It's the prosecution case is that he used it again, in this case the fictitious identity of Phillip Williams, in attempt to conceal his involvement in the company Phillip Williams and in particular to hide his involvement in dishonestly obtaining the fuel rebates," Mr Powell said.
The trial, before Judge Simon Stretton and jury of six women and eight men, is expected to continue for a number of weeks.
Originally published as Truckie on trial for $3.8m tax office rort