AFP revealed there was $170,000 buried in the cooler at Vacy’s property

The siblings are the children of former ATO Deputy Commissioner Michael Cranston, who has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

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Using a network of companies spun out of payroll company Plutus Payroll, the conspirators deliberately failed to wire $105 million in taxes.

Judge Anthony Payne commented on Wednesday that there was “a lot of mixed evidence” at the trial but that the money buried was “not part” of the Crown case.

Crown Prosecutor Rae Sharp, KC, confirmed that the “subject matter of the letter” was not the subject of the charges against Cranston.

The court found that Cranston’s personal benefit from the tax fraud was no less than $6,861,782.17.

Funds filed by prosecutors and received by Cranston were used to purchase several Mercedes C63 and Porsche Cayenne Turbo S cars, a Kimberley Karavan, a Scania truck and a Toyota LandCruiser, as well as a down payment and loan repayments of $240,000 used on a single-engine Cirrus SR22 aircraft.

Siblings Lauren Cranston and Adam Cranston at the start of their trial in April 2022.

Siblings Lauren Cranston and Adam Cranston at the start of their trial in April 2022.Credit: Oscar Colman

In addition, the Crown said Cranston spent $1.5 million on a home in Miranda, spent $1.2 million on the Vacy estate and associated renovations, and $826,000 on a property with a view on the water at Burraneer.

Cranston’s motive was “financial reward at all times” and the crime was “committed not out of necessity but out of greed,” prosecutors said.

In an interview at Silverwater Prison in June, according to a forensic psychiatrist’s report, Cranston said he had previously worked in bankruptcy and “liquidated companies with heavy tax debts”.

He said he’s seen people “leaving companies without a chance to pay their taxes, keep their assets with no penalty, and drive Ferraris.” [sic] … I was always told it was immoral but not illegal.”

Cranston claimed Plutus “should be a legitimate start-up company in 2014” but that 2016 was “all too late”.

“There were times when I felt really good, I was high, and I was buying [a] Porsche, play with a race car or buy things,” he said. “I was excited and worried and constantly afraid of getting caught.”

He “felt there was no turning back,” saying, “We were already at it, so I figured I might as well enjoy it.”

Cranston, 36, recounted cliff jumping on the Woronora River in the Sutherland Shire, where he finished second in the 2017 Bathurst 12 Hour auto race, bought a plane, rented it to a flight school and then bought a second one with a parachute.

The report details the dramatic change in his life of luxury: He spent five weeks in prison after his conviction for his high profile and worked in the prison kitchen seven days a week.

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In a letter to the court, Cranston’s in-laws said they would now support their daughter – Cranston’s wife – as she “otherwise would be living on the streets”.

“We’re sure he’ll get a chance [Cranston] “I would not make those mistakes again,” they wrote.

Cranston’s fate will be decided on Tuesday when he is convicted by Payne before fellow conspirator and former pro snowboarder Jason Onley. Her charges carry maximum sentences of 10 and 25 years in prison.

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Justin Scaccy

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