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|A RAYMOND Terrace woman who ripped off $100,000 from the Australian Tax Office used part of her share of the proceeds to pay for her wedding, Newcastle District Court heard yesterday. |
Annette Bertram, 36, lodged 28 fraudulent business activity statements for two companies between 2001 and 2005, Judge Linda Ashford said.
Bertram, of Brown Street, received GST refunds totalling $105,000, but told the court that her share of the money was about $25,000.
Bertram pleaded guilty to five counts of obtaining a financial benefit by deception and was sentenced to two years' jail with a non-parole period of one year.
Judge Ashford said Bertram, who was receiving Centrelink benefits at the time, used the money to pay living expenses and for her wedding.
Bertram told the court that she was threatened by her father and brother, who forced her to prepare and sign the statements before lodging them with the tax office.
The statements contained fraudulent transactions such as buying cattle, cars and a machinery shed that did not exist, Judge Ashford said.
The tax office audited the two companies after Bertram rang the office to inquire about a refund in 2005.
Judge Ashford said that Bertram came from a dysfunctional family and wanted no further contact with her father and brother.
Bertram told the district court that she intended to pay the money back after she had served her jail sentence.
Cessnock City Council Mayor Alison Davey provided a character reference for Bertram and attended yesterday's hearing.
Here's a post made by Geoff Bertram on Dads On The Air at the time of the $25,000 wedding whining about how he doesn't have any money. The irony of guest poster Dad A commenting on theft is not lost, pity he's referring to Geoff's EX wife. lol