Restaurateur fined $40k over botched bookkeeping
Brisbane restaurateur Ersoy Isik has been fined $40,000 for signing off on botched bookkeeping, which short-changed the tax office about $90,000.
But the 51-year-old was not jailed after Brisbane District Court Judge David Reid found putting the man behind bars would have unfairly impacted the more than 100 people he employs at an already "difficult time" for business because of COVID-19.
He also said the man had no criminal history and had otherwise been a successful businessman.
Isik, who was previously linked to Ahmet's at Bulimba and South Bank and popular tapas restaurant Ole, last month pleaded guilty to nine counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception.
He was on Wednesday sentenced to a combined total of $40,000 in fines after he signed off on incorrect BAS statements and PAYG records, that caused a shortfall of $90,628 to the tax office.
The court heard Isik received incorrect figures from bookkeeper and gave those figures to accountant to be lodged in BAS.
He recklessly signed off on the declarations saying they were "true and correct", the court heard.
The offences related to Ahmet's and Ole and occurred more than eight years ago.
The court heard the offending was not "deliberate deception" or "intentional" but "reckless" and he had paid the money back in full in 2013.
"This behaviour was out of character for him, he is otherwise an assiduous businessman," defence barrister Benjamin James said, after the court heard Isik had no criminal history.
The court heard the matter had taken so long to be finalised after Isik's previous lawyer told him it had been dealt with in court, but actually the matter was listed for a trial.
After Isik did not turn up for his trial because he had been travelling overseas, a warrant was issued for his arrest.
He was later taken into custody and released on bail before appearing in court this week.
The court did not record a conviction against Isik after hearing he is planning to stay up a food concept in US "that he is interested in developing in Australia as a franchise" and could not travel there with a criminal offence to his name.
Isik, who still has a number of business interests in Brisbane including Suki Bulimba, has recently branched out into property development the court heard.
Isik has been contacted for comment.
Originally published as Brisbane restaurateur fined $40k over botched bookkeeping