Frances VinallNCA NewsWire
The estranged wife of Comanchero national president Mick Murray has been cleared of tax fraud in a bombshell development in court.
Debbie Pitman, the former long-term partner of Comanchero national president Mick Murray, and Graham Ritchie, a businessman who offered $1 million surety so Murray could go to Thailand while on bail in 2019, both had charges withdrawn in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday.
Prosecutor Joe Connolly did not tell the court why the charges had been withdrawn.
Ms Pitman, who it was revealed in 2018 had left her husband, was accused of lying to the government about owning properties in the Melbourne suburbs of Lysterfield South and Cranbourne North in 2015 and 2017.
The Cranbourne North woman was accused of “falsely” declaring to authorities in March 2018 that she did not own any real estate and had not sold, transferred or given away assets in the past five years.
By doing so she was accused of evading a debt to the tax office of over $2 million.
Mr Ritchie, of Mount Martha, had been accused of financing and taking ownership of the two properties for Ms Pitman so she could evade the $2 million tax debt.
He was charged with “conspiring” with Ms Pitman to “cheat and defraud” the tax office by concealing that she had effective control of the properties and mortgage repayments.
Police had alleged he took ownership of the Lysterfield South property on June 17, 2015, and the Cranbourne North property on October 21, 2017.
- Members of the Hells Angels and their associates are among 28 suspects charged with nearly 300 criminal charges
- Supreme Court judge says police did not have sufficient grounds to search a Hells Angels clubhouse
- Two members of a motorcycle club that supports the Hells Angels have been found liable for damages after assaulting and threatening a man.
- Crimes of the Big Motorcycle Gangs
- Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs believe they can operate outside the law – and we’re here to remind them they cannot,
Ms Pitman “concealed” her ownership of the two properties from the Australian Financial Security Authority — a government office that handles bankruptcy applications — police had alleged.
She and her bikie boss then-husband reportedly faced bankruptcy in 2017 when the tax office ordered them to pay almost $4 million after it found they failed to pay any income tax between 2008 and 2013.
Police had alleged Ms Pitman “falsely” told the financial authorities in 2015 and 2017 that she did not own any assets outside of her possession and that she had not contributed to the purchase of an asset owned by somebody else.
Ms Pitman was facing three charges of dishonestly obtain a financial advantage stemming from those accusations which were all struck out on Monday.
Mr Ritchie was facing four charges of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage for someone else and one charge of conspiring to defraud, which were also all struck out on Monday.