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Jail For $5 Million Tax Fraud

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A Tauranga man behind a $5 million fraud in the agricultural industry has been jailed for two years and 10 months.

Ahmad Bakhtiar was sentenced today in the Tauranga District Court after earlier admitting 64 charges involving tax evasion and 22 charges of using a document. Inland Revenue Manager Assurance, Investigations, Richard Philp, said in the past five years, 33 people including Bakhtiar, had been convicted of fraud in the agricultural industry. The total amount involved is more than $31 million. "We will be continuing to monitor the industry very closely and will be taking firm action against these sorts of scams."

"We're committed to helping ensure an even playing-field for the many honest contractors in the industry who are disadvantaged by tax cheats," said Mr Philp.

Bakhtiar's scheme involved forming a new company and, for a fee, supplying invoices in that company's name for work completed by someone else.

Bakhtiar was involved in both writing the false invoices, and recruiting young men from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh to incorporate the new companies. They typically left New Zealand before Inland Revenue was able to complete any investigation into their affairs. Inland Revenue estimates $5,185,441 in GST, PAYE and income tax was evaded by the 14 companies Bakhtiar was involved in. "Our message to anyone trying to commit this type of fraud is that we will catch up with them, and that they can expect both the courts and Inland Revenue to treat their actions very seriously," said Mr Philp.

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