Australian police are using the Al Capone tax approach to crack down on bikie gangs

Police and the Australian Tax Office (ATO) have taken a leaf out of the 85-year-old playbook against US gangster Al Capone and are targeting more than 200 outlaw motorcycle gang members for “dodging their tax responsibilities”.

Capone, a Chicago mobster, was regarded as untouchable. But in 1931, he was jailed for 11 years for tax evasion.

Today, Australian authorities revealed that ATO officers and police launched a nationally coordinated campaign against more than 200 individuals and business with links to outlaw motorcycle gangs over the past week as part of Operation Morpheus.

The Australian Crime Commission, Border Force and AFP were also involved.

More than 200 legal and other notices have been served involving millions of dollars, for failing to comply with tax law, ranging from the lodgment of returns, to overdue taxes and incorrect income returns.

Operation Morpheus chair NSW Police detective superintendent Deb Wallace said law enforcement as using “every tool at its disposal” to target the criminal gangs.

“These gangs rely on money to continue their illegal activities, so disrupting their resources is an example of another way law enforcement agencies are acting to dismantle their operations,” DS Wallace said.

An ATO spokesperson said improved technology allowed the tax office to target groups such as outlaw motorcycle club members using data and intelligence to build income, wealth and tax compliance profiles.

“We are committed to ensuring that those involved in OMCG activities are made to pay their fair share of tax and are more open with their tax affairs,” the ATO official said.

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