Local Realtor Sentenced to Australian Prison for Tax Evasion
By edhat staff
A Montecito realtor and Australian native was sentenced to prison in her native country for evading taxes on luxury home sales.
Simone Semmens, also known as Simone Halstead, was sentenced to 34-months for unpaid taxes totaling $1.73 million to Australia's Commonwealth.
The 58-year-old former beauty queen and Australian television host was found guilty on 10 charges of dishonestly withholding tax payments owed earlier this year. She was sent to a maximum-security women's prison to await sentencing and is expected to be released after serving 14 months. She was ordered to be of good behavior for two years after her release.
The judge presiding over the case stated her stubbornness is to blame for being in jail as well as her denial about money owed. “You remained stubborn and steadfast that you did not owe [generation-skipping tax] or tax at crucial times,” the judge said while sentencing her according to news.com.au. The judge additionally stated there were multiple times Semmens could have resolved this before trial.
Semmens has allegedly been working in the U.S. since 2014, specifically as a realtor for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Montecito. The real estate website lists Semmens' California license and contact information boasting her trustworthiness.
The Australian Taxation Office said Semmens flipped 10 luxury properties, bringing in more than $20 million and a total profit of $4.4 million from 2005 to 2011, reports news.com.au.
- June 28, 2019: Local Realtor in Australian Prison for Tax Evasion