File photo: African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Only days after a Bellville father and son were jailed for tax fraud, the court has convicted and sentenced John Bantam, 44, to five years' direct imprisonment for 121 counts of fraud.

Bantam was a tax practitioner employed by Barishman Cloete and Associates Incorporated and during the same period, unbeknown to his employer, he completed income tax returns on behalf of 28 taxpayers and claimed fraudulent refunds.

Last week Thomas Fortuin, 66, from Ridgeworth in Bellville, was sentenced to six years' direct imprisonment on 236 charges of fraud and forgery relating to the tax affairs of close corporations belonging to members of his family.

Fortuin’s son, Tom-Ross Fortuin, 35, and the bookkeeper who assisted the family in committing the crimes, Ivor Carlo Carolissen, 38 entered into a plea bargain with the State and were both sentenced to four years' imprisonment suspended for five years.

This week the Cape Town Regional Court heard how Bantam had registered taxpayers through e-filing and claimed losses, medical expenses and deductions in respect of retirement annuity funds contributions.

In some instances Bantam would inflate medical expenses for medicine obtained over the counter, the court heard.

State prosecutor from the Specialised Tax Unit, advocate Lunga Ntshokoma, said when the SA Revenue Service (Sars) asked for supporting documentation, Bantam generated fictitious statements.

“For each refund the accused was paid a percentage. Some of the money was paid in his wife’s bank account and some paid cash. 

"As a result of his actions, Sars paid out R 690 455.75 to the 28 taxpayers and he received R41 517.79,” Ntshokoma said.