A Melbourne night club manager was yesterday sentenced to three years jail by the Victorian County Court for GST fraud of over $3.7 million.

Mark William Rowson, 39, pleaded guilty to two counts of obtaining and attempting to obtain a financial benefit by deception.

Rowson stole the identities of two individuals and used them to set up and register real companies.

Between September 2002 and October 2004 he then created false documentation on behalf of the companies and deceived a large accounting firm into submitting false activity statements to the Tax Office.

Refunds of $2.4 million were paid into various accounts and further refunds of $1.1 million were stopped prior to issue.

A joint investigation with the Australian Federal Police led to Rowson’s arrest in October 2004.

Acting Tax Commissioner Jennie Granger said identity crime is an emerging threat to the revenue system.

“We are seeing an increase in the use of identity crime to commit tax fraud and we’re working closely with other agencies to combat the issue,” Ms Granger said.

Mr Rowson will serve a minimum of 18 months before being eligible for parole.

Upon conviction, a reparation order was issued and Rowson was ordered to pay the sum of $2,447,271.80.

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