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Two Men Jailed for $40 Million Tax Scam Involving Elaborate Gold Fraud Scheme

Two Men Jailed for $40 Million Tax Scam Involving Elaborate Gold Fraud Scheme
Two Men Jailed for $40 Million Tax Scam Involving Elaborate Gold Fraud Scheme

In a significant legal development, Jonatan Kelu and Cedric Adrian Millner have been sentenced to eight years in prison for their involvement in a $40 million tax scam revolving around a complex gold fraud scheme. The men were found guilty of conspiring to cause loss to the Commonwealth through a GST-evasion plot. The sentencing comes after a lengthy trial that shed light on the details of the fraud, which took place between 2012 and 2013.

During that period, Kelu and Millner purchased gold without paying the Goods and Services Tax (GST). They then melted the gold and resold it as powder to a Melbourne-based company. To further conceal their actions, they claimed to have paid taxes on the initial purchase and subsequently filed for a refund from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Shockingly, their fraudulent activities netted them over $40 million before their arrest in 2018.

While Kelu defended the scheme as a “large-scale scientific endeavour,” the court dismissed his claim, finding it to be false. Justice Richard Cavanagh noted that Kelu’s autism-spectrum disorder did not affect his intelligence or cognitive ability, debunking his assertion of misunderstanding.

Millner, on the other hand, displayed no remorse or contrition during the trial. Furthermore, he refused to cooperate with the Australian Federal Police in recovering the defrauded funds, exacerbating the severity of his actions.

Throughout the trial, the court was unable to ascertain who initially devised the scheme and the specific roles played by each offender. However, it did highlight the fact that both Kelu and Millner lived modest lifestyles and were actively involved in community volunteering prior to their involvement in the fraudulent activities.

Justice Cavanagh emphasised the uniqueness of the case, stating, “I have not found any case to be identical to this one.” The court’s decision to sentence the two men to eight years in prison reflects the gravity of their offences and serves as a deterrent against similar future schemes.

In terms of the financial impact, the fraud involved a staggering sum of approximately $40 million. While approximately $16 million was recovered, the fate of the remaining amount remains unknown, raising questions about its potential use or concealment.

With credit for time served, Kelu and Millner may be eligible for parole in 2028. The sentencing marks the end of a complex legal process that exposed the intricate details of a multi-million dollar tax scam perpetrated through an elaborate gold fraud scheme.

The repercussions of this case will undoubtedly resonate within the legal and financial sectors, highlighting the importance of robust measures to combat such fraudulent activities.