Tax cheat Paul Staples jailed for three years

Paul Thomas Staples and Jean Staples leave the Manukau District Court

Paul Thomas Staples and Jean Staples leave the Manukau District Court last week

TAX CHEAT Paul Thomas Staples was today sentenced to three years imprisonment on multiple counts of GST and income tax fraud.

The former police officer and failed businessman cut a forlorn figure as he was taken into custody to spend the first of what will be many long days and nights in the company of those he once used to help lock up.

As Staples left the dock this morning to begin his three-year prison sentence, his wife Jean, the chief collaborator in much of her husband’s offending, leapt to her feet in one final but ultimately futile act of solidarity.

Before she was able to reach her husband to say her final farewells, she was abruptly ordered back to her seat where she was told in no uncertain terms to sit down.

Outside court there were no tears, no posturing, no histrionics – just a quiet sense of inevitability about a prison sentence both Paul and Jean Staples must have seen coming months ago.

Staples was warned back in August that a lengthy spell behind bars was likely unless he could make significant restitution towards the nearly half million dollars he owed Inland Revenue.

Today during sentencing it emerged he hadn’t paid a cent towards what he owed.  

In fact, since October 2011 Staples had only repaid $12.32 of what he owed the taxman.

Staples lawyer Paul Pati told the court that his client had done his level best to find work so he could start repaying IRD. He said Staples had secured three work contracts but those were cancelled after news of his offending become public.

Pati said the companies involved had taken a dim view of Staples offending and said they had no choice but to cancel the work contracts they had with him.

”He has tried to do things properly. He has been trying to make things right with IRD,” Pati said.

He described Staples as a ‘good father’, ‘good husband’ and good provider but accepted his offending had gone on for a significant period of time and had involved a great deal of money.

Between September 2008 and August 2011, Staples rorted IRD to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars through bogus income tax and GST claims filed on behalf of several companies that existed in name only.

He would then pocket that money to pay household bills, personal expenses, loans and his mortgage.

Crown solicitor James Angelson told the court today that debt to IRD currently stood at a whopping $477,0000 – money the New Zealand taxpayer is unlikely to ever see repaid.

He rejected claims Staples had done his level best to repay IRD, saying there had been no effort on his part whatsoever to make amends to the taxman.

IRD had been left with no choice now but to push ahead with bankruptcy proceedings, he said.

This will be the second time Staples has been adjudged bankrupt.

Judge Andree Wiltens said given the vast amount of money involved he had to impose a starting point of four years imprisonment.

He said back in August he had asked Staples to come up with some repayment schedule with IRD but nothing had been done on that front.

“It seems to me that IRD has no option but to drive you into bankruptcy,” he said.

He said he was willing to take a year off the four-year starting point in recognition of Staples guilty plea and acceptance of his criminal offending.

He added there was nothing in Staples’ personal circumstances to warrant any further reduction in sentence.

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




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


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  • Sally

    Twice bankrupt, no lessons learnt. People like this should have a ban placed on them never to be a director or shareholder of a business again. They should never be able to request a GST number again.
    Sound like his wife was very lucky not to be locked away as well.

    • MarcWills

      It is not always essential that bankruptcy is a sole reason to ban a person forever. Sir Angus Tait actually was declared bankrupt 3 times before he eventually succeeded with his Tait Communications company, one of the largest and most successful private businesses in NZ. The difference was that for him it was a point of principle that when his new business was running, he made sure that the debts owing to his previous company when it went bust were repaid – in other words, a businessman who although he stumbled occasionally, was a trustworthy person who honored his debts. It helped in his eventual success that his reputation was acknowledged by his loyal suppliers.

      The failed managers and directors today are of a totally different character and certainly not honorable.

      • Woody

        Having met Angus Tate what seems like several lifetimes ago, I would have to say that foremost, he was a gentleman in the truest sense of the word.

    • spanishbride

      He saved her by pleading guilty I believe. It was deal to keep her from facing the consequences of her actions.They both did the crime but he loves her enough to do the time for both of them.

      • I very much feel the man is a recidivist so this won’t be the last time we’ll see he’s victimised people by taking their money.

  • Chardé Helena Heremaia

    HI. I am the niece of Jean and Paul Staples and while I don’t agree with what he has done you need to know this. My Aunty is an amazing lady. She’s given me some of the best advice in life and treats me like I am one of her own children. In fact they, actually took me in to live with them while I was studying in Auckland. While you can make assumptions of what “horrible people” you think they are, they aren’t. My Aunty has just recently finished chemo and my uncle stuck by her side, made a lot of sacrifices and provided for their family while she couldn’t. I’ve read all the whale oil articles about my family and these infuriate me because they’re completely one sided. You reporters don’t realise that writing a cheap story on someone who you “think” you know doesn’t make you credible nor a great writer. My cousins will be deeply affected by this and by you writing this and saying my Aunty made a “futile attempt of solidarity” makes me f**king wild to say the least. Wouldn’t you do the same? I’ve read a couple of comments some people have made but could not, for the love of god read anymore than what I did. So before people go jumping to conclusions and making false accusations about my Aunty, step back and think about the people who will really be affected my this. Not you Stephen Cook. My family will be.

  • spanishbride

    I appreciate your feelings on this as you have been personally affected by the consequences of your Uncle and Aunties actions. Cameron and I have also been personally affected by their actions as have other people who have been in business with them.

    Long story short our business relationship with your Aunty and Uncle cost us everything we owned in the long run. We lost our home, our investment property our cars and all our cash. My husband had a mental break down because of the strain or being trapped in a business with a dishonest business partner ( your Uncle )

    My family also knows what it is like to suffer. We have had many, many articles written about us by the Media plus an entire book written about my husband based on stolen communications. That is the other side of the story. No one gets out of the situation unhurt. No one. Actions have consequences that is life. We made the mistake of trusting your Uncle as have a number of other people. We got hurt. Life goes on.

    I wouldn’t wish cancer on anyone. I am sorry that your family is going through so many challenges and I can see how much your Uncle and Aunty love each other. I love my husband too.