Accountant's nine years of fraud netted $397,000

AN Ipswich accountant's "greed" drove him to lodge false claims totalling more than half a million dollars during the nine years he defrauded clients and taxpayers.

Brett Cameron Smallwood, 52, succeeded in obtaining $397,000 of the $563,000; persisting after audits, his de-registration in 2005 and after authorities discovered his 2002 frauds in 2009.

Judge Leanne Clare, who on Friday sentenced Smallwood to an extra 4.5 years jail, said the offences were "blatant and sustained".

"You were driven by greed, you put many clients who trusted you in jeopardy," she said, in Brisbane District Court.

"You cynically exploited their hard times and it seems you've only acknowledged guilt because the evidence against you was overwhelming".

Smallwood - who was a school prefect at Ipswich Boys Grammar - is already serving a five-year jail sentence for defrauding $120,000 from clients in 2002.

Judge Clare said the new offences before her were an extension of that conduct so the sentence must reflect that.

The 4.5-year sentence will begin on September 9, 2015, when he would have become eligible to apply for parole on the other sentence.

He must serve eight months of the new sentence which means he will be released on a five-year good behaviour bond on June 9, 2016.

Judge Clare said she was sentencing on 38 episodes of deception towards the Australian Tax Office where Smallwood falsified Business Activity Statements and sought GST refunds for which there was no entitlement.

"The dishonesty was a pattern of conduct, a professional, criminal enterprise maintained over a seven-year period with a three-year break in between," she said.

"It involved planning, intelligence and a lot of time in preparation. It was sophisticated.

"You used your expertise as an accountant, you abused your position as a registered tax agent."

Judge Clare said Smallwood misappropriated the details of registered companies connected to his clients, many of which he knew had ceased trading.

She said he would also dissuade clients from winding up their business so he could use the business name and misused client details to set up new bogus entities for GST registration.

"It was simply a ploy to use the entity as a vehicle for fraudulent claims," she said.

Judge Clare said Smallwood was concerned about the effect on his family but the consequences to his family flowed directly from the crimes he committed.

Defence barrister Leon Ackermann said his client used some of the money he obtained dishonestly for new business ventures which incurred significant business expenses.

He said some money was used for personal expenses such as personal credit cards and living expenses for his family

Mr Ackermann said there was no evidence the family was living a lifestyle with luxury cars, boats, expensive jewellery or expensive holidays from the money dishonestly obtained.

Smallwood has been ordered to repay $277,778. - APN NEWSDESK



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