Man jailed over diesel rebate fraud


A Tasmanian man has been jailed after he unlawfully claimed more than $500,000 in diesel rebates

By Brad Gardner

A Tasmanian man has been jailed after it was discovered he had unlawfully claimed more than $500,000 in diesel rebates.

Gregory Rothall pleaded guilty to 21 fraud charges in the Tasmanian Supreme Court after being caught out falsifying claims over a five-year period from July 1998 to December 2003 to gain entitlements under the Energy Grant Credit scheme and the former Diesel Fuel Rebate scheme.

Rothall submitted applications on the basis of diesel use in agriculture or foresty and received $564,563 over the five-year period.

Rothall was convicted and sentenced to four years and six months in jail. However, the judge ordered Rothall be released after two years and six months on the basis of assuring the court he would be of good behavior for the remaining years of his sentence.

The court heard Rothall had suffered a number of hardships during his life and sought to use the scheme to supplement his disability support pension.

Despite this, the judge told the court he needed to set an example to discourage anyone from attempting "large-scale fraud" similar to Rothall’s.
"I need to impose a sentence that should deter other people from this sort of criminal activity," the judge ruled.

The judge says Rothall pretended to have purchased large amounts of diesel even though he did not run a business.

However, government officers found he had not lodged income tax returns for a number of years, leading them to launch an investigation and subsequently lay charges.

The judge did not expect Rothall to pay back the Government, saying he did not have the assets to cover the necessary repayments.

"It is highly unlikely that the Commonwealth will ever recover a significant amount of money from him," the judge says.

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