CAPE TOWN – A man who was part of a syndicate that defrauded the South African Revenue Services (Sars) out of hundreds of thousands of rands has been sentenced to nine years imprisonment.
Ryan Petersen was sentenced in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crimes Court this week.
He was part of a group of people who created businesses with the sole purpose of registering for false VAT claims and fraudulent income tax refunds.
Petersen was charged and convicted on 21 counts of money laundering and 18 counts of fraud.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says this was a spin-off case from a matter that was heard in the Western Cape High Court, in which a man was convicted and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.
Police couldn’t trace Petersen at the time of this trial in the high court.
The 30-year-old was later apprehended and prosecuted in a separate trial.
The police’s initial investigations revealed that a VAT fraud scheme was being perpetrated.
Specially set-up entities would submit false VAT claims; these would be refunded into bank accounts opened solely for this purpose.
In cases where Sars required corroboration or support for the refunds that were claimed, false invoices would be submitted.
When Sars stopped these refunds, the businesses changed its modus operandi to fraudulent income tax refunds; that consisted of the creation of fake taxpayers on the Sars system.