WILLING TON: A Wellington accountant who received the country’s longest sentence for tax fraud, has been granted parole on his fifth attempt. In 2012, Barrie Skinner was convicted of 80 counts of dishonesty using a document, seven charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice and five of providing false information to Inland Revenue. Skinner was jailed for eight-and-a-half years, and a co-accused David Rowley for 8 years in August 2012. At the time they were the longest sentences ever imposed for such offending.
The charges arose from a fictitious invoicing scheme in which clients paid for services which were never delivered, and received tax and GST credits in return. Skinner and Rowley pocketed the remainder of the amounts paid and were found to have defrauded the IRD of $2.9 million. At his last appearance before the Parole Board in April, the board was concerned Skinner did not fully accept responsibility for his offending. “He appears to cling to the view that there was nothing fundamentally wrong in the scheme that he had implemented. The Board was also concerned that he appeared to minimise his role in the offending,” it said. At his latest parole hearing in January, Skinner’s lawyer Michael Bott told the Board his client had fully addressed his risks and completed rehabilitative programmes.