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Tobacco fraudster jailed

09.33am 27 February 2017 | News

Company Director, Amar Raouf Shakib, was today sentenced in the Auckland District Court to three years, four months’ jail after being found guilty on 43 fraud charges, including forgery, conspiracy, defrauding the revenue of Customs and false accounting.

Customs seized 5.7 tonnes of fruit tobacco from Ormat Limited in May 2013 after invoices presented as part of the import clearance process were found to have a lower value than the amount paid to the supplier.

A 43-month investigation by Customs’ fraud and revenue team found $525,000 of duty owing had been undervalued on fruit tobacco imports made between May 2009 and September 2013, with an attempt to evade $313,000 of the duty.

Customs Investigations Manager Maurice O’Brien says Customs carries out fraud investigations to tackle serious offending.

“In this case the importer and his overseas supplier colluded to evade paying the correct amount of duty. The tobacco consignments were declared as 3kg cartons, when each weighed 6kgs.”

“Documents obtained under search warrant and extensive electronic forensic examination uncovered evidence of deliberate undervaluation and dual invoicing over five years. This is an outstanding result that is the culmination of years of work piecing together the evidence.

“A laborious and exacting process was followed to review all the importations and gather evidence of fraud; and today’s conviction sees years of hard work come to fruition,” Mr O’Brien says.