Date: May 16 2012
A SYDNEY couple who ran an airconditioning business have been jailed for fraud over a scheme to reduce tax by funnelling money through Vanuatu.
Paul and Lesley Mascall, and their business partner Paul Sewell, were arrested following an investigation by Project Wickenby, a joint operation between the Australian Federal Police and the Tax Office that targets tax evasion.
On Friday, New South Wales District Court judge Richard Cogswell jailed Mascall for four years, with a non-parole period of two years, and his wife for three years with a non-parole period of 15 months. Both had been found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth and conspiracy to dishonestly cause a loss to the Commonwealth.
Sewell, who had been found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth, is to serve a suspended sentence of two years' jail.
The Mascalls were clients of Lynette Liles, a former president of the National Institute of Accountants, who pleaded guilty to fraud charges in February. Liles ran tax shams alleged to have cost the taxman more than $5 million for clients including TV producers Michael Boughen and Wayne Cameron, the masterminds behind Celebrity Big Brother and Deal or No Deal.
Boughen and Cameron were sentenced to two years' home detention last year after pleading guilty to evading $1.75 million in tax, later varied on appeal to three years' jail with a minimum of 18 months.
The ATO said the verdicts against the Mascalls and Sewell brought to 26 the number of people convicted after Wickenby investigations.
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