A former customs broker has been jailed for four years, after being found guilty of falsifying importation documents and pocketing more than $700,000.
Daniel Larosa, 48, was charged with one count of obtaining a financial advantage by deception and one count of attempting to obtain a financial advantage by deception after the Australian Border Force (ABF) found he had made 318 fraudulent claims for duty on goods that were not entitled to be duty free.
As a result of the deception, $728,188 was paid into Larosa's personal bank account.
Assistant Commissioner Investigations, Wayne Buchhorn, said the ABF's investigation began after a routine check uncovered a number of inconsistencies in Larosa's refund applications.
'Not only did Larosa abuse his position of trust as a licensed and authorised customs broker, he also demonstrated a planned and persistent act of offending and used the fraudulently obtained funds to support his own lifestyle,' Assistant Commissioner Buchhorn said.
'This court outcome shows the seriousness of the offending and should serve as a warning to others in the industry that the ABF will seek to prosecute those who undermine Australia's revenue system.'
Larosa pleaded guilty to both charges and was sentenced in the Victorian County Court on 6 March 2017 to four years' imprisonment with a non-parole period of two years. His customs broker licence has also been cancelled.
Licensed customs brokers occupy a trusted niche in Australia's international trade, working with the ABF to facilitate speedy and proper clearance of imported goods allowed into Australia.
Australia ranks high among the world's major trading nations with imports and exports running at record levels, and drawing revenue in the many millions of dollars generated by tariffs and duty payments.
A variety of legislation is in place to prevent theft, fraud and attempts to evade payment of the necessary fees and tariffs, and the Australian Government moves swiftly to prosecute anyone found in breach of the laws.
If you have information about potential trade crime, contact Border Watch online or on 1800 06 1800. Information can be provided anonymously.