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Operation Elbrus sees fourth person jailed for organised tax fraud

Devyn Hammond has become the fourth person to be sentenced for her role in a syndicate that defrauded the Commonwealth of more than $105 million over three years.

Operation Elbrus sees fourth person jailed for organised tax fraud
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  • Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
  • July 13, 2020
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Hammond has been sentenced in the Supreme Court of NSW to four years jail for her role in the syndicate, after pleading guilty to charges of conspiring to defraud the Commonwealth and conspiring to deal with proceeds of crime in excess of $1 million.

Hammond is one of 16 people charged as part of Operation Elbrus, which was a 2017 investigation led by the Australian Federal Police (AFP), with assistance from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), into a large-scale and organised tax fraud conspiracy. The investigation revealed a group of people that used payroll services companies to divert pay-as-you-go withholding tax and goods and services tax owed to the ATO.

AFP Commander Investigations Eastern Command, Kirsty Schofield, said investigating complex fraud matters requires dedication, tenacity and an ongoing commitment from all involved.

“Tax fraud takes money away from essential community services and leaves everyday taxpayers to pick up the bill,” Commander Schofield said.

“It’s not a victimless crime – it impacts every single Australian who wants to do the right thing.

“The fourth sentencing is another step forward for Operation Elbrus investigators. Their commitment to this matter is stretching into its fourth year, but there is still a great deal of work to go in support of the remaining matters before the courts.”

Chief of the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce Will Day welcomed the sentence, noting that the outcomes show the commitment of the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce in bringing the most serious offenders of financial crime to account. 

“This was part of an elaborate and complicated scheme, but our sophisticated approach, combining intelligence and specialist powers of taskforce agencies, means tax criminals will come unstuck,” he said. 

“Tax crime affects everyone. This particular fraud has ripped off innocent creditors and deprived the public of valuable funds that could otherwise be used to fund essential services.”

The Serious Financial Crime Taskforce is an ATO-led joint agency taskforce that brings together the knowledge, resources and experience of relevant law enforcement and regulatory agencies to identify and address the most serious and complex forms of financial crime.

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