Tax Cheat Paul Staples loses his job

Tax cheat Paul Staples leaves the Manukau District Court with his wife jean Staples

JUST WHEN you thought things couldn’t get any worse for tax cheat Paul Staples, they have.

The 52-year-old former bankrupt and ex-policeman appears in the Manukau District Court on Thursday for sentencing on charges of forgery, tax evasion and knowingly providing false information to Inland Revenue – offences which carry maximum penalties of up to 10 years imprisonment.

In the meantime, Staples has suffered another setback – he’s lost his job with Panmure-based company Eastside Security Ltd.

Owner Gary Moore confirmed yesterday that Staples was no longer working for the company.

He said Staples had been dismissed immediately after he had been told about the criminal charges he was facing.

Between September 2008 and August 2011, Staples filed 27 fraudulent income tax and bogus GST returns with IRD under three different companies.

During that time he also claimed a salary as a shareholder of a company when he wasn’t one, falsified sale and purchase agreements and legal documents and registered companies when he was a bankrupt.

Inland Revenue has assessed the debt at around $320,000, but with penalties and interest it is likely to run to well over half a million dollars.  

Staples offending began back in 2008 with a shell company established specifically for the purposes of rorting IRD. In September 2008, Staples registered STH Investments Ltd for GST and between then and May 2011 claimed close to $100,000 in refunds from bogus returns.

Upon payment, those funds would go directly into his wife’s personal account and would then be used to pay personal bills and the couple’s mortgage.

An inspection of the company bank statements showed STH Investment Ltd existed in name only – the company had no taxable activity and no assets or income apart from GST refunds.

It was a similar situation with ‘security firm’ ‘380 Express Ltd’, a company formed by Staples in April 2007. In October 2009 the company was registered for GST and received refunds of $14,720 despite never providing tax invoices or bank statements in support of the claims.

In March 2010 the company filed an income tax return declaring a loss of $20,083 with a net tax benefit of $6009. The claim the company had run at a loss was not supported by any evidence.

When the company bank statements were inspected, there was no record of any business activity between November 2009 and May 2011 other than the receiving and disbursing of GST refunds. That money was used primarily for food, fuel, mortgage and car repayments.

It was a similar modus operandi with Voltage Security, a company set up by Staples in September 2008.

According to the police summary of facts, Staples was signing off sales contracts as a ‘director’ of Voltage Security when he was not registered as a director with the Companies Office.

But the deception didn’t end there.

In July 2009 Staples, filed a $18,279 GST refund claim with Inland Revenue. When IRD carried out a review of the claim, Staples prepared fake tax invoices for filing with IRD.

In September 2010, Staples advised IRD the company had ceased trading. He then registered the company under the name of First Response Security Services Ltd but continued to use Voltage Security’s IRD number.

Until November 2011, Staples traded “outside the tax system”. In early 2012 he re-registered for GST and filed outstanding returns for the company.

Core GST debt on late filed returns totaling $69,090 and income tax debt and penalties still remain unpaid.

In September 2012, Staples filed an income tax return for First Response reporting a loss of $22,369 – but like previous claims the loss was not supported by evidence and didn’t cross-match with sales reported for GST.

The correct 2011 income tax position of the company was reassessed by IRD as $58,325 worth of taxable income. The net tax effect of the total tax discrepancy between the loss filed and tax payable was $24,208.

Moore said he was completely unaware of Staples offending.

“It came as a bit of a shock,” he said, adding that when he was notified of Staples offending he immediately severed all ties with the tax cheat.

He said Staples had provided contracting services ‘on and off’ for a period of approximately 18 months.

cookStephen Cook is a multi award winning journalist and former news editor and assistant editor of the Herald on Sunday.

Disclosure: WOBH Editor Cam Slater was formerly in business with Paul Staples in another security company.

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