A wealthy accountant and property-owner, whose portfolio includes multiple homes from The Block and a high-profile nightclub on Queensland’s Gold Coast, has been jailed for duping the tax office out of more than $135,000.
David Brandi’s raft of deception was laid out at Melbourne County Court on Friday as the property high-flyer learned his fate over a complex GST fraud committed more than 10 years ago.
Camera IconDavid Brandi ended up pocketing $135,248.67 in false GST refunds in statements lodged with the Australian Taxation Office. Credit: Supplied
However, the former registered tax agent will not spend any time behind bars after Judge Trevor Wraight ordered his release forthwith.
Earlier this week Brandi, 48, had pleaded guilty to two counts of dishonestly obtaining a gain from the Commonwealth.
The court was told Brandi was an accountant and principal of a chartered accounting practice, trading as Brandi & Co at the time of offending.
He was hired to do the business activity statements for two developments on behalf of property company Quantum 8 Group.
Melbourne Property Group (MPG), another company associated with Brandi, had loaned a substantial amount of money to Quantum 8 Group, which was in financial difficulty and in turn owed MPG money.
While doing the statements, he falsely added invoice amounts from his own company, Brandi Homes, to the construction costs.
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In reality, the company was never registered with ASIC and did no work on the properties.
Brandi ended up pocketing $135,248.67 in false GST refunds in statements lodged with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
Email exchanges between Brandi and his staff in 2010 revealed he ordered them not to tell the owner of Quantum Group 8, Socrates Michanicos, what happened.
“Soc is not to know about any of this yet, or at all,” Brandi wrote.
“He will want all of this back immediately and s–t will hit the fan if he finds out – so everyone keeps their traps and emails shut.”
Judge Wraight called Brandi’s actions “calculated” as he sought to personally gain from the endeavour, rather than “seek legitimate ways to alleviate financial difficulties” of the company.
Camera IconDavid Brandi is the building owner of the popular Gold Coast nightclub Sin City and has built an impressive property portfolio consisting of multiple homes renovated on The Block. Credit: News Corp Australia
“You were motivated by your financial contribution to the companies,” Judge Wraight said.
He took into account Brandi’s personal circumstances, including his struggle with alcohol addiction and his wife’s health issues.
The court was told he was actively involved in community sports and he was remorseful for his actions.
“In the circumstances, you have accepted full responsibility,” Judge Wraight said.
Brandi’s prominent property portfolio includes multiple properties renovated on the hit series The Block and the world-renowned trophy home Alkira in Cape Tribulation, in Queensland’s far north.
He purchased The Block’s 2015 season-winning South Yarra apartment for $2.3 million.
Brandi is also the building owner of the popular Gold Coast nightclub Sin City.
Judge Wraight sentenced Brandi to two years’ jail, but ordered his release forthwith on a $5000 recognisance.
He was ordered to be of good behaviour for five years.