Plutus Payroll tax evasion lawsuit launched | Blue Mountains Gazette

The Plutus Payroll tax scheme trial began with a jury hearing an alleged $105 million Commonwealth fraud scheme described as the “Ben Hur” of tax evasion.

The prosecution says a recorded January 2017 phone call between two defendants, Adam Cranston and Dev Menon, described the scale of the scheme.

“If this was fully uncovered…it would be fucking Ben Hur, man,” Cranston reportedly said.

“It would be the biggest tax cheat in Australian history, there’s no doubt about it,” Menon reportedly replied.

Cranston, 35, faces a lawsuit with his alleged co-conspirators Lauren Cranston, Dev Menon, Jason Onley and Patrick Willmott.

Prosecutors allege that between March 2014 and May 2015, the five defendants formed a scheme to defraud the Commonwealth by withholding $105 million in pay-as-you-go taxes and GST that should have been remitted to the ATO.

The five are also accused of money laundering these funds.

All five defendants have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The scheme was allegedly carried out through the company Plutus Payroll which provided payroll services to workers.

“Plutus in Greek mythology was the god of abundance and wealth. In the circumstances, members of the jury, of an alleged $105 million fraud, you might think that the name Plutus was indeed a very appropriate,” the prosecution said.

An Australian Federal Police investigation, Operation Elbrus, was launched in 2016 and uncovered the alleged scheme.

The trial continues on Wednesday.

Australian Associated Press

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