– from successful Taxation and Insolvency practitioner to possible jail time
Sydney, June 21: Tax lawyer and partner at Sydney law firm Clamenz lawyers, Dev Menon, 33, has been linked to a $165m elaborate tax-fraud scam.
Dev, who previously worked at KPMG and an investment bank, is alleged to have been the advisor about how the scheme should be managed.
The North Shore based lawyer Dev has been charged with defrauding the Commonwealth, being part of a syndicate, busted last week. One of the ten people, Dev was arrested after investigators busted the alleged payroll scam. Dev was tapped during his phone conversations, allegedly advising syndicate members about structuring and disguise subcontractor companies.
He also held regular meetings at the offices of Clamenz Lawyers in the MLC Building.
Dev is understood to have instituted a complex operation of payroll businesses involving multiple subcontractor companies.
According to police documents tendered in court, Dev is alleged to have advised sub-contracted companies to set up new bank accounts to pay unpaid tax bills that had triggered garnishee orders from the ATO.
The tax-scam scheme even included using glamorous figures as unwitting baits to lure clients to their payroll scheme – Plutus Payroll, touted as “Australia’s First Zero-Fee Payroll Service”.
2013 Miss World Australia, Erin Holland met and greeted prospective clients at the Hilton Hotel unwittingly furthering a humongous white collar fraud.
Court documents reveal that the alleged scam started in June 2016, when Plutus Payroll was contracted by businesses to manage their employees’ wages and salaries, including making PAYG contributions to the Tax Office.
While Plutus Payroll was a legitimate payroll company, taking money from legitimate clients to process their payroll, but AFP documents filed in court alleged that in actuality, the company was whisking away a percentage of the funds that should otherwise have been paid as taxes.
“This money was transferred to seven sub-contracted companies known as Tier 2 companies, which then made payroll payments to individual workers or clients,” the federal police said in a statement.
Clamenz Lawyers is a subsidiary of Synep, the company allegedly set up to buy out Plutus Payroll and set up the alleged scheme.
Clamenz describes its “refreshing and dynamic approach” in areas of tax and corporate crime.
“We understand your business needs … we make the law serve your business, not the other way around.”
Indeed bright Macquarie Uni graduate Dev, with experience in taxation and insolvency matters, fit in sync at Clamenz.
Dev is accused to have used the proceeds from the tax evasion scam, on properties worth millions of dollars, including a penthouse in Ultimo worth more than $750,000 and a mansion in Wahroonga, where he lives with his fiancée.
The mansion is estimated to be more than $2 million.
The scam was alleged to have links to senior Australian Taxation official Michael Cranston. Deputy Commissioner Michael Cranston will be charged in connection with an alleged $165 million tax fraud syndicate, although Australian Federal Police earlier said Mr. Cranston was not part of the syndicate.
The syndicate allegedly included the son and daughter of Michael Cranston.
Dev was granted bail last week on a surety of $100,000, offered by Dev’s father.
Wahroonga lawyer Dev was already being targeted by authorities for professional misconduct in another matter.
The Law Society of NSW has earlier tried to strike off Dev and his 2 other Clamenz colleagues for alleged misconduct in a car registration scheme.
Dev and his collegues, misusing their solicitor status, collected motor vehicle registration details for debt collectors.
Complaints around 2012, led NSW Law Society to believe that despite strict condition of Roads and Traffic Authority that car registration details would be used in legal proceedings related to car accidents, those details were passed on to debt collector, Identisearch, at least on 10 occasions.
The Law Society pursued them for professional misconduct, however, in September last year, Dev and another colleague had the case successfully thrown out of court, because Society’s reasons were “not of the standard required by law”.
NSW Law Society has however, refiled its proceedings against that could see Dev struck off. Dev has made a stay application due to be heard later, in August.
Dev’s “innovative approach to tax” is lauded at Clamenz Lawyers and he has also been heavily involved in developing Clamenz Lawyers in-house tax structures as well as handling complex corporate and commercial matters.
Dev’s business interests range from a start up oil and gas pipeline company, an investment company and a wholesale business.
He graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) and a Bachelor of Laws from Macquarie University after which he completed the Chartered Accounting Program as well as numerous other qualifications including his PS146.
Dev Menon is accused of providing legal advice on how to run the alleged scam. Photo: Supplied