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‘Elaborate scam’ lands ATO fraudster 5 years in jail

By Grace Ormsby · October 08 2019
Reading:
egg

Earn

‘Elaborate scam’ lands ATO fraudster 5 years in jail

By Grace Ormsby
October 08 2019
Reading:
egg
Elaborate scam

‘Elaborate scam’ lands ATO fraudster 5 years in jail

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By Grace Ormsby · October 08 2019
Reading:
egg
Elaborate scam

A Brisbane man who used several aliases to lodge 62 fraudulent income tax returns and attempt to obtain more than $500,000 in tax refunds has been sentenced to five years in jail. 

The ATO has reported that Micah Robby Elstak used fake names to orchestrate an “elaborate online job scam” through a number of companies, which ultimately saw him stealing 52 taxpayer identities from August 2015 to July 2016. 

After conducting fake interviews over the phone, Mr Elstak would email applicants to confirm they had been successful in applying for the job, requesting a scanned copy of their driver’s licence, bank account details, tax file numbers and shirt size. 

Mr Elstak used this information to fraudulently create myGov accounts, or take over the accounts of people who already had an account. 

The ATO said the fraudster would then link the myGov accounts to ATO online services and lodge fake income tax returns in their name, with resulting refunds credited to one of 63 bank accounts in Mr Elstak’s control. 

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Many of the taxpayers had reported the scam to the Tax Office when they discovered that the job didn’t exist. 

Internal bank anti-fraud measures and efforts from the ATO and Queensland Police meant $378,099 of the $565,895 that Mr Elsak had claimed could be stopped before reaching his bank accounts. 

The investigation ultimately led to Mr Elsak being charged with 106 offences in relation to the scam, and saw him sentenced to five years in prison at Brisbane District Court. 

ATO assistant commissioner Ian Read welcomed the sentence that was handed down, saying: “As demonstrated today, people who try to cheat the tax system will get caught, and we will take firm action, including penalties and criminal prosecution.” 

Timely reminder to ‘Stay Smart Online’

The sentencing of Mr Elsak coincides with “Stay Smart Online” week, with Mr Read reminding taxpayers to “never give out your personal identifying information unless you are certain of who you are speaking to”.

“Remember, your employer will only need details like your TFN and bank account through a TFN declaration form once you commence your employment.”

“To protect taxpayers’ information, we are also encouraging myGov users linked to the ATO to update their myGov sign-in options and opt to receive a security code by SMS,” the assistant commissioner offered. 

“It’s a quick and secure way to sign in to access ATO online services.”

“You can help stop refund fraud,” Mr Read continued. 

“If you suspect someone of being involved in tax fraud, you should report it,” he urged.

‘Elaborate scam’ lands ATO fraudster 5 years in jail
Elaborate scam
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About the author

Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

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About the author

Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

Join The Nest Egg community

We Translate Complicated Financial Jargon Into Easy-To-Understand Information For Australians

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