Deputy head of Australian tax office caught up in $165 million tax fraud
Who do you get to investigate an investigator?
Australian Taxation Office (ATO) deputy commissioner Michael Cranston has been ordered to attend court for allegedly abusing his position to access information for his son, who has been arrested in connection with a major tax evasion scheme.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) say they do not believe Michael Cranston, Australia’s most prominent tax investigator, knew about the alleged scheme.
According to The Telegraph, Cranston’s 30-year-old son, Adam, his 24-year-old daughter Lauren, and seven other people have been arrested as part of a tax fraud investigation worth $165m which has been accumulated in less than a year.
The ATO was conducting an internal investigation into four officials, examining whether they had looked at material they were not authorised to access.
The arrests were made after an eight-month investigation, codenamed Operation Elbrus and two other ATO officers have been suspended for allegedly accessing information at Cranston’s request.
Officers within the ATO have access to the material as part of their job but obtaining information outside their scope is a breach of the code of conduct
The syndicate’s alleged conspiracy to defraud the commonwealth involved conspirators running a payroll company for legitimate clients, subcontracting work to second-tier front companies they controlled and then siphoning off funds by only partially paying taxes owed. The scheme allegedly netted $165m since June 2016.
The scheme allegedly netted $165m since June 2016.
The Australian Prime Minister said Australia had “zero tolerance” for the type of conspiracy, fraud and abuse of public office that is alleged.
Adam, Cranston's son, has been released on bail and will appear in court again in late-August while his sister and Cranston's daughter, Lauren, will come before the courts in mid-June.
Here is a video of Michael Cranston talking about ways to avoid retirement planning pitfalls. Here's one way, con the system out of millions like he did.
Clip via Australian Taxation Office.