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Breach of trust: St Lucia accountant jailed over $2.4m tax fraud

A former Queensland accountant and prominent horse racing figure has been jailed for six years over a $2.8 million tax fraud.

Feb 21, 2023, updated Feb 21, 2023
The court heard that Morrissey, of the Brisbane riverside suburb of St Lucia, failed to declare his taxable income between October 2010 and June 2014.

The court heard that Morrissey, of the Brisbane riverside suburb of St Lucia, failed to declare his taxable income between October 2010 and June 2014.

Craig William Morrissey, 55, faced Brisbane District Court on Tuesday for sentencing having previously been found guilty by a jury of 14 counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception.

The court heard that Morrissey, of the Brisbane riverside suburb of St Lucia, failed to declare his taxable income between October 2010 and June 2014.

Morrissey filed eight business activity statements and three business tax returns with false information about sales, purchases and tax due from his company that performed audits on self-managed superannuation funds.

Morrissey also used the same methods to dishonestly reduce his personal taxable income for a total $2.823 million financial advantage, which he used mainly to build a property portfolio.

The crown prosecutor said Morrissey’s offending demanded a full-time custodial sentence.

In the years since 2014, Morrisey’s Brisbane-based company SMSF Audits, also known as Audit Now QLD, had been liquidated and he had personally been declared bankrupt.

Morrissey’s barrister said the bankruptcy trustee had recovered $500,000 from his client’s estate and that would soon be distributed mainly to the Australian Taxation Office.

“Effectively Mr Morissey’s professional career is at an end, he cannot continue as an accountant,” the barrister said

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“It’s highly likely his working life is at an end … after release from jail.”

The barrister said Morrissey’s offences were “unsophisticated”, sure to be discovered once an audit started and committed during a stressful period of his life.

Judge Tony Moynihan said Morrissey had breached his professional and ethical obligations as an accountant.

“This conduct involves a breach of trust given the self-assessment system employed by the ATO. It is difficult to detect and prosecute, and it is a fraud ultimately perpetrated against the whole community,” Moynihan said.

Morrissey’s non-parole period was set at three years and he was ordered to repay $2.63 million.

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