News Article

2500 Fraudulent Invoices Reap $173,000 HST Evasion Fine

Posted: September 30, 2013
Posted in: Strategic Thinking, Distinguished Mastery, Tax Planning, Tax Fraud

Red Adair, an Oilwell Firefighter once said, “If you thought hiring a professional was expensive, wait until you try hiring an amateur!” 

Sometimes it pays to hire the professionals, like certified and designated bookkeepers and tax advisors to keep you on the right side of the law, and out of jail. CRA means business when do-it-yourself “doctoring” of the books is uncovered, as a business owner in the Maritimes learned the hard way last week.  On September 24th the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) revealed that Jean Cormier, a businessman from Richibucto, New Brunswick, was given a hefty fine in the Moncton Provincial Court after pleading guilty to HST evasion charges.

The  owner of Richibucto Furniture, was charged by CRA for using fraudulent invoices in order to conceal certain sales, thereby deliberately failing to remit $216,411 in HST. To avoid remitting the taxes, Cormier had manipulated over 2,500 invoices, purporting that the sales were made to exempt Status Indians. Cormier used information from previous legitimate transactions with Status Indians to copy the registry information and change the invoices. The invoices that the customers received did not contain any Status Indian information. The CRA uncovered the scheme by examining invoices, purchase slips and credit card transactions from the store.

The fine that Cormier received represents 80% of the taxes evaded and must be paid within 12 months. If he fails to pay in time, he could find himself in prison for over five years.

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