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Aussie Boss Blew $10m in Betting Spree

26 July 2005

VICTORIA, Australia -- As reported by the Herald Sun: "A company director stole more than $10 million in Victoria's biggest stamp duty fraud to fuel an insatiable appetite for gambling.

"Keith Jonathan Fernandez, 36, was a pathological punter who blew taxpayers' money on gambling chips, racehorses and offshore betting accounts, the County Court heard.

"Fernandez -- an authorised stamp duty collector for the State Revenue Office -- lost $10,168,303 in just two years before an anonymous tip-off brought him undone.

"...Prosecutor Gavin Silbert told the court Fernandez poured $3 million into a Vanuatu-based betting account called Dial-A-Bet and set up a horse-racing syndicate with his brother and wife that bankrolled 30 harness racehorses.

"He also bought more than $500,000 worth of Crown casino gaming chips and pumped another half a million dollars into his Tabcorp phone betting account.

"...Defence lawyer Mark Taft told the court that his client was an incorrigible gambler in a perpetual state of denial..."

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