Youth worker's $400,000 tax fraud left trail of high spending
Over the course of two years, a Masterton youth worker lived a free-spending life as he brazenly defrauded Inland Revenue of more than $400,000.
Bradley William McLaren, 33, pleaded guilty to one representative charge of dishonestly filing 22 tax returns in the Masterton District Court on Thursday.
According to the summary of facts, McLaren founded his Kidz Workz Ministriez Trust, in July 2013.
Over the two years that followed he filed 26 false tax returns in its name.
He claimed the trust had incurred $6.75 million in expenses and made sales of $961,000, leading to a $400,181 payout.
McLaren, who was originally from Australia but has lived in New Zealand for more than 20 years, left a trail of spending behind him.
He spent more than $23,000 on furniture. In July 2015 he spent nearly $10,000 at The Warehouse.
He bought 10 vehicles and loaned $27,000 to two people. In the space of just six months, he spent close to $7,000 at cafes, supermarkets and restaurants.
The alarm was eventually raised and, in June 2015, Inland Revenue began an investigation into McLaren and the trust.
Upon doing so, it withheld the balance of a further $390,576 in fraudulent GST returns.
It found the trust did offer holiday programs, but on a very limited scale. It also discovered the trust was, in essence, McLaren's alter-ego.
In addition to the main charge, McLaren also pleaded guilty to another representative charge of attempting to defraud the IRD a further four times.
He was remanded on bail until sentencing in June.
He is facing up to seven years in jail.