Fraudster fails in claim jail term was manifestly excessive

A CONVICTED fraudster who ripped off $1.3 million from Queenslanders has failed in his bid to have his sentence declared manifestly excessive.

Brian John Kelly conned 36 people, including one from Stanthorpe, into investing in fake investment companies. He then used a system of bank transfers, cheques and cash withdrawals to launder the money.

His schemes netted $1,332,550 in investment but only $209,968 was recovered and returned to investors.

At the time of the offences Kelly was on bail for fraud charges in Victoria.

Kelly pleaded guilty in 2013 to fraud and money laundering charges but appealed his sentence of eight years and seven months, claiming it was excessive.

But Court of Appeal Justice Philip Morrison said the fact Kelly committed the crimes while on bail made his offending more serious than other cases.

"I am unpersuaded that the sentence imposed on Mr Kelly was manifestly excessive," he said.

He said Kelly had set up an "elaborate organisational facade" to convince people his operations were real. This included using one company with a similar name to a legitimate company and Kelly using the name of the real owner of that company.

Justice Morrison pointed to victim statements to show the impact Kelly's crimes caused.

"They told of the devastation upon discovering that they had been duped, and the significant impact on their lives, from losing their invested money," he said.

"Many were at or close to retirement age and the loss of the money not only harmed their finances but caused embarrassment and strain on family relations. Many said their lives had been ruined.

"Others expressed their shock and anger, and detailed the detrimental effect on their physical and mental health. For one the pain was acute as he persuaded his daughter to invest as well."

The appeal was dismissed.

ARM NEWSDESK



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