Assets worth nearly $16 million have been seized by AFP (Australian Federal Police) from a man who is serving seven years in jail over a mammoth fraud on the Commonwealth.
Six properties, three vehicles, luxury items like watches, multiple bank accounts, investment accounts and shareholdings worth $15.8 million are now in the government’s hands.
Simon Anquetil was a co-founder of a payroll services company, Plutus Payroll, which was used to defraud the Commonwealth of more than $105 million over three years.
The complex scam involved pay-as-you-go withholding tax and GST fraud.
The 38-year-old Liverpool man was one of the main conspirators in the criminal syndicate.
He is serving a seven-and-a-half-year sentence for conspiring to defraud the Commonwealth and dealing with the proceeds of crime.
The man in charge of the confiscation of criminal assets at the Australian Federal Police, Stefan Jerga, says the force is working to ensure that criminals don’t benefit from illegal activities.
“Fraud is not a victimless crime; it is a crime that impacts directly upon the community,” Jerga said in a statement on Feb. 8.
“The confiscation of these assets serves as a clear message to organised criminals: you will not only risk being charged and incarcerated for your fraudulent activities, you will also see your houses, vehicles, savings and personal items taken away from you.”
The assets will be sold and the proceeds placed in a special government account.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton distributes the funds to support crime prevention, law enforcement and other community initiatives.
Hannah Ryan in Sydney