Teuila Fuatai

Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

Tax adviser sentenced for false invoice scheme

A former Inland Revenue Department official and high-profile tax consultant has been sentenced to 10 months' home detention for his role in a fictitious invoice writing scheme designed to avoid paying tax.

Brent Gilchrist, 52, was handed the sentence of home detention at Wellington High Court this morning for six charges in relation to the scheme.

It involved issuing fake invoices that resulted in funds being routed through to a Vanuatu bank account. This money was then repatriated back to New Zealand, where each of the parties involved - at least four men - took a split.

Scott Anderson, 52, also appeared for sentencing before Justin Simon France.

In his decision, Justice France said evidence suggested Gilchrist was the scheme's architect.

"Mr Gilchrist's role, was undertaken I believe out of misguided loyalty to Mr Anderson, was to organise the mechanics, tend to all the Vanuatu dealings in which he had expertise and suggest an immediate wording for the invoices.

"Mr Anderson's role was to essentially to do as Mr Gilchrist directed however as noted he's the primary beneficiary of the scheme just between the two of you.''

Anderson, who was also being sentenced for his part in another tax evasion scheme, was handed a sentence of three and a half years' jail time in relation to a total of 12 charges for each incident.

Justice France said his offending was more serious and also noted a report from his probation officer which indicated he had expressed little true remorse for his crimes.

"The report writer was critical of what she saw as your sense of entitlement and your ego.''

Previous convictions, including one of drink driving and providing a false statement which occurred while Anderson had been on trial, were also taken into account.

"Home detention would never have been an option,'' Justice France said.

In his sentencing remarks, Justice France said: "The need for deterrence is necessary given that the tax system relied on tax payer honesty and the recognition that this is not a victimless crime.

"It is affront to all who work normally for so much less money for the defendants in this case and who pay their share.''

The IRD said the sentence outcomes was "the culmination of a lot of hard work and dedication by Inland Revenue investigators, legal advisors and digital forensic staff and the Crown Solicitor''.

"Inland Revenue as part of its compliance programme is using increasingly sophisticated methods to detect tax evasion and fraud schemes, and will take action against serious non-compliance,'' said Group Tax Counsel Graham Tubb.

"Despite their concerted and sophisticated efforts, those involved ultimately failed to stay ahead of the law, they were caught and they ended being convicted.''

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