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Inland Revenue welcomes tough sentence

Inland Revenue welcomes tough sentence on tax fraudster

Inland Revenue today welcomed the prison sentence handed down on a Palmerston North tax fraudster who stole about $220,000 from clients of the accounting firm where he worked.

Lindsay Norman Kirk Chapman was sentenced in the Palmerston North District Court today after earlier pleading guilty to 83 charges of fraudulently using a document, and a further 159 offences under tax legislation.

Chapman was sentenced to three years' imprisonment.

Colin Hutchins, Inland Revenue's Manager Technical and Legal Support, Wellington, said the sentence was a fair outcome.

"The tax system relies on the honesty of the professional people working in the system," said Mr Hutchins.

"In this case Chapman falsified the tax affairs of clients, misappropriating payments or claiming refunds they were not entitled to, and then deposited the proceeds into his own bank accounts.

"But in addition he committed a range of offences about his own taxes, including income tax, family assistance, personal tax rebates, and student loan payments, which netted him about $35,000."

Mr Hutchins said it is a myth that tax fraud is a victimless crime.

"In a case like this it is easy to see the extent of damage that Chapman has inflicted on clients, both financially and emotionally. Clients of a tax agent put their trust in someone whom they think is looking out for their financial wellbeing."

Today's sentence highlights the aggravating features of this case, which includes a gross breach of trust and clearly involved a high level of systematic deception, of clients and of Inland Revenue.

"It gives a strong message to those who deliberately attempt to defraud the revenue and shows the consequences of being found out. It also sends a message to people in the community that fraudsters will be caught and the Courts will deal severely with them."

Inland Revenue has specialist staff working on uncovering fraud and tax evasion. Mr Hutchins paid tribute to those Inland Revenue staff who had put in many hours of painstaking work uncovering the details of Chapman's offending, which involved hundreds of documents, and covered several years.

"The prison sentence is a strong reminder that the courts take this type of offending seriously."


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