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Monday, March 20, 2023

Daughter of ATO executive found guilty of $105m fraud

The daughter of a former ATO deputy commissioner has been found guilty of siphoning more than $105m in taxes to fund an enviable lavish lifestyle.

Lauren Cranston sobbed as the jury found her guilty of conspiring with four others to cause loss to the Commonwealth and conspiring to deal with the proceeds of crime.

She was accused of playing a role in one of the biggest tax frauds in Australia’s history, alongside her brother Adam Cranston, lawyer Dev Menon, Patrick Willmott and Jason Onley.

All five had pleaded not guilty to their involvement in their scheme to use $105m in taxes to fund their luxurious lifestyles.

During the trial, the court was told Adam Cranston’s company, Plutus Payroll, had withheld $105m in taxes over a three-year period.

The funds were allegedly siphoned off into second-tier companies so the five conspirators could spend it on luxury properties, cars, boats and jewellery.

Ms Cranston’s lawyer told the jury she was just an employee and she was unaware of any conspiracy to commit fraud.

The jury deliberated for weeks before finding her guilty on Monday. She wailed as she learned her fate.

Camera IconHer brother Adam Cranston was found guilty last week. NCA NewsWire / Jeremy Piper Credit: News Corp Australia

The decision came less than a week after the jury determined her brother, Menon, and Onley were guilty of the multi million dollar tax fraud.

The Cranstons’ father, Michael, was an ATO deputy commissioner at the time of his children’s conspiracy to defraud the country. He is not accused of any involvement in the tax fraud scheme.

Ms Cranston will remain on bail until she returns to court on Tuesday morning.

The jury is still deliberating on its decision over the alleged involvement of Willmott.

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