A whistleblower could be jailed for up to 161 years for revealing misconduct in the Australian Taxation Office.
Richard Boyle, 43, faces charges including using a listening device without consent and making a record of protected information.
In April 2018 Boyle, a debt collector at the ATO, was a source for a joint Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Fairfax investigation into the use of garnishee notices. The notices allow the ATO to compell banks to hand over a percentage of any deposit made on an account for the purposes of debt recovery. In the story, he alleged that staff at the Adelaide branch were instructed to use garnishees against small businesses and vulnerable individuals without considering their circumstances.
He had previously attempted to resolve the issue internally under the Public Interest Disclosure Act, according to the ABC.
A week before the story was published his home was raided by the Australian Federal Police. The search warrant named Fairfax investigative journalist Adele Ferguson.
In all, he faces 66 charges, to which he is expected to plead not guilty when he next faces the court in July.
3 April 2018
9 April 2018
- ABC / Fairfax publish a story alleging the ATO misuses garnishee notices to meet revenue goals
- Boyle, a whistleblower, is one of two sources for the story
26 February 2019
Ferguson A, Robinson L and Carter L 2018. AFP raids Australian Tax Office whistleblower amid Four Corners investigation. ABC News. 3 April 2018.
Ferguson A, Robinson L and Carter L 2018. Whistleblower exposes ATO 'cash grab' targeting small businesses. Four Corners / ABC News. 9 April 2018.
Ferguson A 2019. ATO whistleblower faces six life sentences, roughly the same as Ivan Milat. Sydney Morning Herald. 27 February 2019.
Opie R 2019. ATO whistleblower Richard Boyle to plead not guilty at next hearing, Adelaide court told. ABC News. 4 June 2019.