Conman to stay behind bars

A SERIAL conman, who convinced his Rockhampton mining boss to pay $138,000 to his three fraud victims ahead of sentencing, has lost a last-ditch bid for immediate release.

Lorenzo David Suarez, 41, ripped off three men in 2007 through phoney investment scams while he was on parole for taking a large amount of property as a business operator.

Suarez told them he was a property developer and promised returns of more than 100% if the men loaned him money.

A Gold Coast man discovered the fraud when an $85,000 cheque, supposed to be payment with interest of a $60,000 loan, bounced.

Another man handed over $27,000 to secure the release of Housing Commission properties to an entity that did not exist.

A third man was given a dishonoured cheque for $47,000 which was supposed to be part payment of a $51,500 loan.

The following year, Australian Securities and Investment Commission disqualified Suarez from managing corporations for five years after an investigation.

ASIC reports Suarez was living in Borallon, near Ipswich, as a property developer when he played a role in the two failed companies - Jajoelta Investments and Sonik Design and Construction - sparking the disqualification.

Justice Robert Gotterson, in handing down a Court of Appeal judgment, noted Suarez had just been released after serving 32 months of a seven-year jail term for other dishonesty offences when he committed the 2007 offences.

He said Suarez then served another 22 months in jail when his parole was suspended.

Suarez pleaded guilty to the latest bogus schemes in February and was sentenced in April to two years jail with parole release in October

The court heard Suarez's new Rockhampton boss had loaned him money to repay victims and deducting the loaned money from his salary each month.

Suarez appealed the sentence, arguing it was manifestly excessive and he should not serve any more time after the appeal hearing.

He argued the sentencing judge did not give appropriate weight to the 22-months' parole suspension for committing the new offences.

He said he had not reoffended since the 2007 offences and had repaid his victims.

But Justice Gotterson noted Suarez had "no realistic opportunity of committing similar offences" in that time because he was mostly behind bars and the sentencing judge was mindful Suarez had borrowed to pay back the investors.

He said Suarez had also requested release because he had full-time employment as a Rockhampton mining equipment company's general manager and he had relocated his family there for the job.

Justice Gotterson said the sentencing judge had correctly not counted the 22-month parole suspension towards the new sentence.

He and two other Court of Appeal justices unanimously agreed the two-year jail term and October release date were not manifestly excessive.



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