Three Northlanders have been found guilty by a jury of failing to pay more than $800,000 in taxes.
It took the jury in the Whangarei District Court about four hours on Monday to reach their verdicts on Timothy Meredith, 46, Andrew Karl, 43, and Carol Karl, 51.
Carol Karl faced one charge of evading assessment or payment of income tax, one of evading assessment or payment of GST and another of evading payment of tax. The offences occurred between April 2006 and April 2015. Andrew Karl faced similar charges, relating to offending between April 2010 and April 2015.
Meredith faced one charge of evading assessment or payment of income tax, one of evading assessment or payment of GST, and eight charges of evading payment of tax. His offending was between April 2007 and November 2013.
The Crown case was that the three deliberately avoided paying tax. Despite their claims in their CVs to be experts in accounting and IT matters, the Crown said the trio did not fulfil their obligations under the relevant taxation laws.
All five traded under the name Nga Uri o Tupoto which, according to the Inland Revenue Department, received just over $3.6 million in its bank account during the period they did not pay taxes.
IRD investigator Ian McLisky told the court the defendants did not pay one cent in tax and his checks with the Maori Land Court and other government departments revealed the society was not registered.
Meredith questioned during the trial why the IRD did not contact or file charges against the society and why their trial was not held in Kaikohe where they lived.
Karl mentioned the Declaration of Independence and the Treaty of Waitangi and said they simply followed the rules and regulations of the society.
Sentencing is December 18.