Dunedin barrister struck off for tax fraud

by NZ Lawyer25 Jul 2016
A barrister has been struck off for taking off with $183,626 in owed taxes which she partially used for her mortgage, overseas travel, alcohol, private school fees and a Jaguar car.
 
Raelene Marie Kelly, despite initially signifying she will appear at criminal trial to face 46 charges, failed to do so and also did not attend the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal hearings.
 
The former Dunedin barrister fled to Australia, the New Zealand Law Society said in a statement.
 
The tribunal found that her conviction for offences punishable by imprisonment taints the profession and show she is not fit to practise law.
 
She has been ordered off the bar roll and owes the New Zealand Law Society $12,683 for costs of the hearing.
 
According to the organisation, the former barrister’s convictions included charges of aiding and abetting her incorporated law firm to commit offences under the Tax Administration Act 1994.
 
She was found guilty by the Dunedin District Court in 2015. Of the 46 charges levelled against her, 31 were in connection to her knowingly applying PAYE deductions to a purpose other than payment to the Commissioner of Inland Revenue.
 
The other 15 charges related to her knowingly failing to provide a GST return to Inland Revenue.
 
The unpaid PAYE liability totalled $60,993 while her GST liability was $122,633 for a total of $183,626.
 
She used the $60,993 for personal expenses such as mortgage payments, overseas travel, alcohol, private school fees and a monthly payment for a Jaguar motor vehicle said Mark Treleaven, New Zealand Law Society national prosecutions manager.