A New Zealand-born real estate boss has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison, for stealing more than AU$96,000 (NZD$107,000) from body corporate accounts in Australia.
Geoffrey James Leadley, 66, took money from five property body corporate organisations between January 2010 and March 2012.
He will spend the next 14 months in jail, and will be deported to New Zealand after his release.
Leadley was the principal of the RE/MAX Noosaville (in Noosa, Queensland) franchise at the time, Crown prosecutor Greg Cummings told Maroochydore District Court yesterday.
He made 64 transactions of amounts between $25 and $10,000.
Nearly $17,000 was transferred back into accounts after being taken, meaning the net loss was $79,031.99.
But the court heard those repayments were made as attempts to conceal the offending rather than genuine restitution.
Defence lawyer Robert Burns said his client's career had taken him to great heights in international commerce and had been able to establish a small business in New Zealand since being charged in 2012.
That year, he was charged with three counts of fraud, relating to about $86,000, in a Queensland court.
Mr Burns said there was a real chance of compensation being paid and tendered documents he said showed his client could access an annuity of $700,000.
He asked that the sentence be adjourned so he could pursue the annuity.
Judge John Robertson questioned why it had been left to the very last minute to investigate the possibility of the annuity.
Mr Burns said the annuity had only matured late last year.
Judge Robertson read the documentation before he told Mr Burns it was not sufficient to adjourn the sentence.
"It's a little bit like some of those promises he made to body corporate people back in 2012," Judge Robertson said.
He noted references tendered on Leadley's behalf attested to a man from an excellent background and of otherwise exemplary character.
He said the genesis of Leadley's offending was undoubtedly the financial difficulties he faced running the real estate business.
"This sort of offending requires courts to impose penalties that deter others who may be tempted to steal the money of others..." Judge Robertson said.
Leadley was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail to be released after he had served 14 months.
Judge Robertson told him he would be deported to New Zealand at the completion of his time in prison.
Leadley's wife was allowed to sit in the dock with him at the completion of the sentence and speak with him for a few minutes.
They hugged and kissed before Leadley was led from the court towards the watch house.
- Sunshine Coast Daily