A Tauranga mother who created an elaborate scheme to falsely claim nearly $3 million in tax refunds and tax-related credits has been jailed for a further year for similar offences.
Karina Charmaine Knedler, 31, already serving a jail sentence of three years, three months in relation to 19 tax dishonesty charges, appeared in Tauranga District Court via audio-visual link from prison on Wednesday for sentencing for four further charges.
Last month Knedler pleaded guilty to two joint charges of using a document with intent to obtain a pecuniary advantage, and one joint charge of using an altered document.
She also admitted a sole charge of dishonestly using a document which related to her fraudulently incorporating three companies using her children's initials and dates of birth.
The new charges related to another fraudulent claim for a GST refund of $119,469.40 while Knedler was still subject to bail conditions on the first set of 19 dishonesty charges.
Knedler was jailed on August 31 in relation to the 19 charges which mostly related to false GST refund claims and forged documents in respect of her gym business, which owned the Flex Fitness franchises.
She also had several fictitious businesses that never actually traded, and false Working for Families tax credit claims.
Knedler earlier received $1.1m in fraudulent GST refunds after attempting to falsely claim $2.7m over a seven-year period.
She paid back some of the $1.1m, leaving an outstanding amount of just over $550,000.
Knedler used the fraudulent refunds to fund overseas travel, lifestyle and living expenses and to purchase, renovate and improve both her property and businesses activities.
She was granted bail on November 10, 2016 for the second set of charges mainly on humanitarian grounds relating to the young age of her third child.
Her bail conditions included her not accessing any electronic devices, broadband, Wi-Fi apps and any IRD systems.
Despite the bail restrictions, Knedler was involved in negotiating the sale of the Fitzonex Limited's business to a new company setup, and subsequently claimed further fraudulent GST refunds.
On April 27 this year she also created four invoices and altered documents including a sales and purchase agreement to support her GST refund claim of $119,469.40.
The claimed refund was not paid out, after Inland Revenue halted the payment to make further inquiries, the summary of facts revealed.
Judge Paul Mabey QC revealed Knedler's original prison sentence of three years, seven months which he imposed was reduced on appeal by four months, mainly due to the risk of complications during her fourth pregnancy.
Judge Mabey told Knedler he agreed with Inland Revenue's lawyer that apart from the maximum 25 per cent credit for her guilty pleas and applying the totality principle, no further discounts should be given to her.
The rationale for taking Knedler's pregnancy into account had now passed given she had given birth and she was back in the parental unit of Auckland Women's Prison, the judge said.
"This was repetitive and consistent tax dishonesty offending on Knedler's part, some of which was a continuation of the earlier offending, and a further 12 months prison sentence is warranted after taking into account the totality principle," the judge said.
Knedler's husband Leith Robert Swinney is also facing three tax dishonesty charges in relation to the same second set of offences Knedler pleaded guilty to.
He will defend joint charges of using a document with intent to obtain a pecuniary advantage and using an altered document at a judge-alone trial in March next year.