Internet trader owns up to bogus returns

By Sandra Conchie of the Bay of Plenty Times -
File photo / Thinkstock
File photo / Thinkstock

A former self-employed internet retailer has been convicted of more than $80,000 of tax fraud after admitting he filed bogus GST returns.

Welcome Bay man Peter Noel Gatenby, 44, pleaded guilty to seven charges of tax evasion in Tauranga District Court yesterday.

The charges also include him attempting to seek another $25,000 of GST refunds, which Inland Revenue did not pay out after becoming suspicious.

Court documents revealed Gatenby - who registered for GST on September 1, 2010 - came to the attention of Inland Revenue in December last year when his two-monthly GST return contained a request for a refund of $25,029.96.

The IRD sent a letter to Gatenby asking him to verify the details after the return showed zero income for GST purposes and high expenses.

In December, Gatenby admitted to the IRD that between October 1, 2010 and November 30, 2011, he had filed seven GST returns containing false and/or fictitious information.

As a result of the bogus returns, Gatenby received $83,653.80 in refunds he was not entitled to.

In explanation he said he had done so because he saw an opportunity to get money to support his lifestyle and pay some outstanding debts.

In December Gatenby was declared bankrupt and remains an undischarged bankrupt.

His lawyer Bill Nabney told Judge Thomas Ingram yesterday that although the IRD sought reparation, his client was unlikely to be able to pay it.

Judge Ingram granted Gatenby bail pending sentencing on January 17.

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