First Criminal Conviction Under JobKeeper Payment Scheme

First Criminal Conviction Under JobKeeper Payment Scheme

Co-written by Kane Fieldsend

KEY TAKE OUTS

  • A Victorian man has been the first Australian convicted and fined for falsely declaring that he met the eligibility requirements under the JobKeeper Payment Scheme.
  • The man claimed that he was a sole trader whose business was affected as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The man pleaded guilty to three counts of making a false and misleading statement to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and he was fined $3,000 and ordered to pay $3,000 in reparations and legal costs in the sum of $282.
  • Reminder the JobKeeper scheme ended on 28 March 2021, however, businesses have until 14 April 2021 to submit their monthly business declarations for March fortnights.

Mr Raed Saleh has been the first Australian convicted and fined for JobKeeper fraud after attempting to receive $6,000 in JobKeeper payments.

Mr Saleh applied and lodged two months of JobKeeper claims, falsely declaring a 30% downturn for the months of May and June 2020. He claimed that he was a sole trader and that his business met the eligibility requirements of the JobKeeper Scheme. He further submitted to the ATO that all of his applications and claims were true and correct. However, Mr Saleh was in fact not operating a genuine business and had already been nominated by his full-time employer for the JobKeeper allowance. Mr Saleh received $3,000 from his false claim in May, but the ATO stopped his June claim for investigation.

Mr Saleh pleaded guilty to the charges, admitting he was not a sole trader, had been nominated by his full-time employer, and that he was not eligible for the JobKeeper payments. He was fined $3,000 and ordered to pay an additional $3,000 in reparations and legal costs in the sum of $282.

There may be further convictions as the ATO reviews JobKeeper payments which have been made, particularly during tax time. The ATO has said that they have monitored every JobKeeper payment made under the scheme.

Although the JobKeeper scheme ended on 28 March 2021, businesses have until 14 April 2021 to submit their monthly business declarations for March fortnights.


ABOUT CHRISTINE GUIRGUIS:

Christine Guirguis

Christine Guirguis is a Senior Lawyer within our commercial and dispute resolution team. She has experience in acting for small to medium-sized businesses and individuals in a range of commercial areas including employmentleases, shareholding, construction law, dispute resolution, and commercial litigation.


For further information please don’t hesitate to contact:

Christine Guirguis
Senior Lawyer
ChristineG@couttslegal.com.au
1300 268 887

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