Indian Student jailed over tax scam, faces deportation

tax scam

A young man on a student visa who made a small sum from his role in telephone scam has been jailed by an Adelaide court and faces deportation to India once released from custody.

Pratik Hasmukhbhai Davariya, 22, pleaded guilty to nine counts of involvement in money laundering, at a hearing in Adelaide Magistrates Court.

He was arrested last August in the South Australian Riverland over a scam that involved a total of $43,908, the court heard Davariya received about $2,000 for his role.

It was told he was keen to buy a car after he arrived in Australia on a student visa so contacted a friend in India seeking help.

That person put him onto another contact, who told Davariya his bank account could be used to transfer large sums offshore to India and Thailand.

In return he was promised a small loan.

Tax scammers made phone threats

Scammers involved were calling Australian residents and claiming to be from the tax office, threatening people with fines of up to $125,000, or jail, for supposedly unpaid taxes.

People made payments into Davariya’s bank account, the court heard.

It heard only two victims of the scam had been identified and they would be compensated from money remaining in the bank accounts involved and from cash seized by police at the time of the Davariya’s arrest.

Magistrate Paul Bennett said the student had thought the money was from a gambling syndicate, so knew it to be “fishy”.

He jailed Davariya for just over a year with a nine-moth non-parole period, but due to time spent in custody the man will become eligible for release almost immediately.

“I accept you did not devise the scam or make the phone calls,” the magistrate said.

“Whilst you had a lesser role, your role was no doubt critical. The scam you assisted used intimidation and, like all scams, preyed on the vulnerable.”

The court heard Davariya’s student visa had now expired and he would be taken into immigration detention and likely deported once freed from jail.