Businessman caught by ATO

THE Australian Tax Office worked closely with the Federal Police to bring disgraced Northern Rivers businessman Paul Joseph McMahon to justice.

On Friday, Sydney District Court Judge Robyn Tupman sentenced McMahon to six years jail, with a non parole period of four years, describing him as a conman and confidence trickster.

McMahon, who was living in Casino, pleaded guilty to 15 counts of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception and 24 counts of attempting to obtain a financial advantage by deception.

The ATO said they were investigating McMahon over a Business Activity Statement lodged in 2001/02 when he went to ground.

When he turned up in Casino in May 2006, the Federal Police raided his home on the ATO's request.

They found a number of incriminating documents relating to fraud and the use of as many as 42 stolen identities.

The court heard the identities belonged to former colleagues and people born around the same time as McMahon.

The ATO said McMahon received $293,772, largely paid in refunds to various company bank accounts under his control.

McMahon attempted to obtain a further $378,719 in refunds but was stopped when the Tax Office discovered the fraud.

He settled a separate Proceeds of Crime civil case to repay the money fraudulently obtained from the Tax Office.

McMahon was once known on the North Coast as the man who struck million-dollar property deals for a living.

At the time his creditors extended across the North Coast to Sweden, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Tax Commissioner Michael D'Ascenzo yesterday issued a warning to anyone considering following in McMahon's footsteps.

“Anyone attempting to defraud the Commonwealth by lodging a false activity statement is likely to come under criminal investigation and may serve time in jail.”

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