Monday, December 25, 2017

Struck Off But Otherwise Famous

The web page of Victorian (Australia) Legal Services Board + Commissioners reports a recent sanction

A former Melbourne solicitor has been struck off after pleading guilty to committing a multi-million dollar fraud against two banks.

Mr Denis Angeleri, formerly of the law practice Angeleri & Co, was struck off by the Supreme Court of Victoria following an application brought by the Victorian Legal Services Board.

The Board told the Court that in May 2015 Mr Angeleri had been found guilty by the County Court of using his position as a company director to defraud two major banks of $24.7 million through 885 false loans. The Board explained Mr Angeleri was also found to have persuaded individuals to invest a total of $900,000, but had lied about both the terms and conditions and the security that would be provided for their investments.

The County Court had sentenced Mr Angeleri to a total of 13 years’ imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to 19 criminal charges brought by Victoria Police involving conspiracy to defraud, theft, obtaining property by deception and obtaining financial advantage by deception.

Board Chairperson, Ms Fiona Bennett, welcomed the Court’s decision.

‘Disgraceful conduct such as that displayed by Mr Angeleri casts a shadow over all lawyers. This strike-off decision is the culmination of several years’ work to make Mr Angeleri accountable for his actions, and is the most severe civil sanction that can be brought against a legal practitioner under Victorian law,’ Ms Bennett said.

The Supreme Court order

The plan was elaborate, sophisticated and well planned and no stone was left unturned to avoid detection either by the banks themselves or by auditors. In this way, the offending proceeded unabated and undetected for nearly seven years. The enormity of the fraud meant that the false loans were monitored on a daily basis by those involved in the fraud including you.

The Age Victoria had the complicated  story involving four defendants

The company [Australia Motor Finance] had apparently begun well. It occupied a niche in the Australian market that was ripe for plucking before the global financial crisis.

It had attracted funding from National Australia Bank and from private investors. Many of these were friends and family lured into the business by Porcaro.

But as early as 2003, it was struggling to make ends meet.

"You were self-insuring, the lending practices were reckless, you were being pursued by the banks and you should have simply closed the business down," County Court chief judge Michael Rozenes said in sentencing O'Brien.

Instead, Angeleri developed a plan to create fake loans to get enough money to cover the problems. In some cases, money flowed in a mad loop: borrowed from the bank on the back of a fake loan and then paid back to the bank to meet the payments on an old loan. In the end, AMF had written more than $24 million of fake loans.

"The plan was elaborate, sophisticated and well planned and no stone was left unturned to avoid detection either by the banks themselves or by auditors," said County Court judge Paul Lacava In sentencing Angeleri. "This way, the offending proceeded unabated and undetected for nearly seven years."

That morning, Stephanie didn't make it to work. As a result, the job of prepping the paperwork was given to someone more junior.

He didn't follow the normal drill. Instead of passing the loan documents to someone ready to doctor them, he sent them straight to the bank.

And alarm bells started ringing.

Angeleri was the mastermind of the scheme. He is otherwise famous for being the husband of the woman credited with putting Liz Hurley off her flirtation with Shane Warne.

Angeleri's wife, Adele, received a string of racy text messages from the cricketing legend in 2010. The texts came as Warne's relationship with supermodel Hurley was front-page news.

Denis Angeleri responded to Warne's advances with a twitter campaign that included the memorable tweet "The only thing Shane Warne is interested in is his dick." Hurley later referred to the episode as "Jerry Springer-esque".

The story ran in London's News of the World the day before Angeleri was ordered to pay $4.8 million in damages for his role in the AMF fraud.

Details on l'affaire Hurley here from the Daily Mail. (Mike Frisch)

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