Woman funded lifestyle by false tax claims

Last updated 16:07 12/11/2012

Relevant offers

National business

Construction site injuries spike The Kiwi running Walmart Work for change, change for work Economic activity settles in south Firms must prepare vulnerable staff for robberies Canterbury buzzing but must look to future Airport runway to extend into Lyall Bay New freedom for credit unions Mainfreight fraudster jailed NZ wine favoured by British

A personal trainer and health supplements provider has been sentenced to 10 months' home detention and 200 hours' community work after admitting filing false tax returns to help fund her lifestyle including jet skis and gym membership.

Feilding-based Suzanne Bettridge ran a business that direct marketed health products to customers. The business partnership filed GST returns from 2003 until 2009. In 2006, Bettridge also became involved in weight management consulting and personal training and started filing personal business GST and income tax returns.

The Inland Revenue Department started an investigation after she filed GST returns that consistently claimed large refunds.

Group Manager Investigations and Advice Patrick Goggin said Bettridge claimed $1.5 million in expenses for GST and income tax purposes but only returned a combined income of just over $31,000 for both businesses.

"The expenditure claims included private items such as gym memberships, clothing, a jet ski and personal grooming costs. Bettridge also claimed costs relating to her home including rental expenses, though she had not paid rent.

"There were no records to support these claims and she kept changing her story as to why she could not produce the necessary documentation."

Goggin said Bettridge told IRD she had been loaned hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for these expenses but this turned out to be untrue.

"Bettridge's actions were a deliberate attempt to claim money to which she was not entitled," he said.

"She was responsible for filing GST and income tax returns for her businesses and she was fully aware of the rules and that her actions were illegal. She was funding her lifestyle by making false GST refund claims and thereby cheating taxpayers by her actions.''

She admitted in Feilding District Court to filing 46 false GST returns and four false income tax returns.

Ad Feedback

- BusinessDay.co.nz

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content