Businessman gambled while tax went unpaid

While his four companies were failing to pay their taxes, a Christchurch man’s Player’s Club card shows he spent $93,415 at Christchurch Casino.

Anatalea Andrew Lafaitele, 53, of Northwood, has been ordered to undergo problem gambling treatment and counselling as part of a home detention sentence imposed in the Christchurch District Court.

In June, he pleaded guilty to four charges involving a long list of periods when the tax was not paid.

Inland Revenue told the court he had “multiple aliases” – Andrew Joe Vaotuua, Jean Paul Francois, and Taliaoa Andrew Vatua.

The failure of his companies left $191,344 in unpaid tax.

The companies were A1Treecorp Ltd, A1Heatcorp Ltd, and A1Telecorp Ltd which were placed into voluntary liquidation on January 29, 2016. A1Corp-Division was put into liquidation on the application of the commissioner on December 15, 2016.

Lafaitele was the sole director and shareholder of each company. The companies operated tree cutting and heat pump services in the Christchurch area.

The charges refer to PAYE deductions, Kiwisaver employee and employer deductions, child support deductions, student loan employer deductions, and superannuation contribution tax.

Judge Gary MacAskill noted that the Christchurch Casino records showed that Lafaitele had spent $93,415 at the casino between 2014 and 2016 according to the records on his Player’s Club card.

The tax offending involved payments not being made over his four companies, for 66 tax periods. Records showed the money would have been available for payments in 25 of the tax periods. The offending continued for 20 months after a warning from IRD.

Judge MacAskill noted that Lafaitele was willing to pay reparation but had no means to pay it apart from deductions from his wages if he was able to get employment.

He ordered him to pay $10,000 over five years, from wage deductions. He also imposed nine months of home detention, and 200 hours of community work.

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