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Guilty tax agent awaits court sentence

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Tax agent Michael Robert McDonald, who faces Crimes Act charges brought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) appeared in the Manukau District Court on Friday, August 5, 2016 to plead guilty.

Mr McDonald has pleaded guilty to four charges of theft by person in a special relationship, 13 charges of dishonestly using a document and one charge of false accounting.

He had been a registered tax agent since 2002.

In that role, he filed GST, PAYE and income tax returns on behalf of clients and their related entities.

False entries

The guilty pleas confirm that between 2007 and 2013, Mr McDonald received money from some of his clients for the purposes of paying tax but failed to forward the money to Inland Revenue Department (IRD).

He also filed approximately 250 false GST and income tax returns in order to receive money from IRD or to retain client funds that he was not entitled to. Mr McDonald also made false entries in one of his client’s financial statements in order to conceal his offending.

SFO Chief Executive Julie Read said, “There is often a need for investors to rely on experts when dealing with complex financial matters. The handling of client money must be professional and honest. The SFO will pursue the prosecution of agents who step outside the rules to remind the community that there are serious consequences for this type of offending.”

The SFO acknowledges the assistance of IRD in the investigation.

Mr McDonald was remanded on bail and will be sentenced on 21 October 2016.

-Serious Fraud Office Press Release

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