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Sydney accountant accused of attempting to evade over $8m for client

A Sydney accountant has been accused of attempting to evade more than $8 million in tax for a client.

Sydney accountant accused of attempting to evade over $8m for client
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  • Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
  • February 14, 2020
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An experienced accountant has been charged with 27 tax evasion and fraud-related offences, with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) alleging the 62-year-old woman attempted to evade more than $8 million in tax for a client.

The AFP, leading the investigation as part of the joint-agency Serious Financial Crime Taskforce (SFCT), believes that Jennifer Nairne promoted and facilitated an illegal family trust arrangement for her client for the purposes of minimising tax liability.

It has also alleged that Ms Nairne knowingly lodged nine false income tax returns on behalf of the family trust. As a result, the trust beneficiaries allegedly avoided paying more than $8 million in income tax.

Further, the AFP has alleged that the woman concealed, destroyed and fabricated evidence in response to an ATO audit in an effort to make the false income tax returns appear legitimate. This includes allegedly making false representations about the family trust and company records to the ATO commissioner, as well as submitting 37 false or misleading documents.

Ms Nairne is a current partner at accounting and financial services firm Fordham Group, but allegedly committed the crimes while working at the east coast practice of PKF between 2007 and 2010, which was bought by BDO in 2012. 

AFP Commander Kirsty Schofield, Investigations Eastern Command, said these charges send a strong message to the financial services community that serious criminal activity and fraud will not be tolerated.

“This operation shows how SFCT investigators are working – tirelessly and meticulously – to ensure the integrity of our taxation system. It’s about ensuring funds are not illegally redirected from essential community services like roads, hospitals and schools, into the pockets of a privileged few,” Commander Schofield said.

The AFP added that it is not alleging that the client or the accused’s firm at the time had any knowledge of the alleged offending. 

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