Customs media release
Four people imprisoned over Commonwealth fraud charges - Saturday, 29th August 2009
Joint media release - Customs and Border Protection, Australian Taxation Office and Australian Federal Police
Four people who pleaded guilty to charges relating to defrauding the Commonwealth have been sentenced to imprisonment in the Brisbane Supreme Court yesterday.
Mr Sen Hung CHEN, 64, and his wife Chiu Yuan HSIAO, 59, both Taiwanese nationals residing at Aspley, were found guilty of conspiracy to cause loss to the Commonwealth. For this offence Mr Chen was sentenced to six years imprisonment while Ms Hsiao received a sentence of five years and three months.
The couple also pleaded guilty to two counts of dealing with the proceeds of crime worth one million dollars or more. For this offence Mr Chen is to serve 10 years and six months with a non-parole period of seven years. Ms Hsiao was sentenced to seven years and six months with a non-parole period of three years.
Both Mr Chen and Ms Hsiao are to serve their sentences concurrently.
Previously, the couple was also ordered to pay $8.28 million by 26 November 2009, as a result of investigations into their assets, which were proven to have been obtained through the proceeds of crime.
Mr Thanh Hieu TRUONG, 51 of Sunnybank Hills, and Mr Hi NGO, 51 of Fortitude Valley were also found guilty of conspiracy to cause loss to the Commonwealth. They were both sentenced to four years and six months gaol, with a non-parole period of three years.
The four people sentenced yesterday were the last of a group of 11 people to be prosecuted in relation to a duty evasion scam that had been investigated over nearly six years by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, the Australian Taxation Office and the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
The scheme, which operated between 2001 and 2004, involved the diversion of large quantities of duty free tobacco products through two Brisbane duty free shops onto the home market.
Sales records were falsified to show that ships crew were purchasing the products when in fact they were being sold throughout south-east Queensland using a network of retail outlets organised by the syndicate.
During the course of the investigation assets and cash to the value of more than $15 million dollars were restrained and the Customs and excise duty evaded was calculated at being in the order of $13 million dollars.
AFP Acting Assistant Commissioner Justine Saunders said this excellent result has been the culmination of more than five years of dedication and commitment by the multi agency team and is a reflection of what can be achieved when agencies work together.
Customs and Border Protection National Manager Investigations, Richard Janeczko, said it was pleasing that the long running case had finally reached a conclusion and today's gaol sentences demonstrated that those who sought to gain an advantage by fraudulent means would be brought to justice.
Tax Commissioner Michael D'Ascenzo said fraud that involves selling non-duty paid products into the domestic market damages the viability of legitimate businesses.
"We take fraud seriously and focus considerable resources on detecting and acting against businesses doing the wrong thing," Mr D'Ascenzo said.
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