Breaking News: Former lawyer sentenced for $347,000 tax fraud

by Miklos Bolza14 Oct 2015
Former lawyer and tax advisor in Lower Hutt, Patrick John Renshaw, has been given home detention for tax fraud of nearly $347,000.

Renshaw pleaded guilty to 42 charges of aiding and abetting offences, mostly for failing to pay PAYE tax deductions for his company employees.

Other related charges include trying to claim false GST refunds for four firms and filing a false income tax return for himself and another company between January 2010 and November 2012.

According to the Inland Revenue Department (IRD), the shortfall in tax paid was over $140,000 with another $200,000 attempted.

Renshaw was previously involved in the high-profile collapse of the Upper Hutt legal firm, Renshaw Edwards, in 1992. He was sentenced to seven years in jail on 42 charges of fraud and theft involving $6.4 million of clients’ money.

On Wednesday, Peter Hobbs, judge at the Wellington District Court, said that while Renshaw had previous convictions, they occurred 23 years ago. Due to the length of time that had passed, he did not consider it reasonable to increase Renshaw’s current sentence.

Judge Hobbs said Renshaw had been director of Resource Management Research Services. In this role, he had paid mortgage commitments on property developments instead of paying PAYE to the IRD. He then applied for tax refunds to repay the IRD.

“Two wrongs clearly do not make a right,” Judge Hobbs said.

Renshaw was sentenced to 10 months of home detention and was ordered to pay $13,000 in reparations at $50 a week in addition to a $2,500 lump sum.

Renshaw is currently bankrupt and on the national superannuation. His wife is also bankrupt.

IRD group manager of investigations and advice, Patrick Goggins, told Stuff.co.nz that Renshaw had made a calculated attempt to defraud the New Zealand taxation system.

“Renshaw filed false GST returns relating to five fictitious property purchases and a vehicle for which he claimed GST input credits totalling more than $155,000.”

“These actions were dishonest and a fraud on not only Inland Revenue, and therefore the community, but also the affected employees, who should be able to expect that tax deductions from their wages are dealt with lawfully.”