Phoenix operator jailed for $6.7 million fraud

James Soong, 65, was today sentenced to three years jail in the Sydney Downing Court for failing to remit $6.7 million to the ATO.

Between October 1995 and July 1998 two companies operated by Mr Soong deducted tax instalments totalling $6.7 million from the wages of their employees. This money was not remitted to the ATO.

When the first of these companies was liquidated the employees were moved into the second company where Mr Soong continued to withhold funds from his employees’ wages without forwarding it to the ATO.

Tax Commissioner Michael D’Ascenzo said this case was an example of a ‘phoenix’ arrangement which involves the deliberate liquidation of a company to avoid paying outstanding debts.

The conviction is the result of a long standing joint investigation conducted by the Australian Federal Police and the ATO.

Soong will serve two years jail before being eligible for parole and has been ordered to pay back $6.7 million to the Commonwealth.