Wellington, Auckland 21, 2019
A former commercial diver has been sentenced to three years in prison after falsely claiming more than a million dollars in GST refunds.
Tony Edward Cree pleaded guilty to one representative charge of dishonestly and without claim of right using a document to obtain a pecuniary advantage. He was sentenced on Friday, July 19, 2019 in the Christchurch District Court.
Inland Revenue spokesperson Tony Morris said that Cree, via his company Civil and Marine Group Limited, claimed $1,104,252.61 in GST refunds that he wasn’t entitled to.
“Cree lied, repeatedly. He gave us false documents and information to try to validate the false GST returns he filed,” Mr Morris said.
“He claimed GST refunds between December 2009 and January 2015 when his, and his company’s, bank accounts showed no expenses for business activity in this period.
“At one point he claimed his partner was sick and had passed away which made it difficult for him to comply with information requests made by IR. This turned out to be false as well.
“His premeditated and deliberate actions showed a complete disregard towards his and his company’s tax obligations. The general public is the victim of his offending having been deprived of a significant sum of money, which could have been put towards funding essential public services.
“Honest New Zealanders can be assured that tax cheats won’t get away with stealing money that would normally go towards funding vital services such as hospitals, schools and national parks.