Jail sentence for fraudulent developer

March 7, 2024 | Robyn Bull

A developer who conspired to lodge fraudulent business activity statements has been convicted and sentenced to 10 years in jail with a non-parole period of six years and eight months.

The developer was involved with two companies that formed part of a group known as the ‘Hightrade Group’ which developed properties such as a hotel and golf course in the Hunter Valley, NSW.

The developer fraudulently obtained GST refunds by using three tiers of companies (developers, building companies and suppliers) to grossly inflate the construction costs of his developments.

The companies he was involved with also claimed to have purchased goods when no such purchases had occurred.  In total, the developer intended to cause a loss to the Commonwealth of more than $15 million.

His sentencing has closed a complex case, known as Operation 4.  The ATO noted that “Tax crime, like the fraud uncovered in Operation 4, affects the whole community.”