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Businessman Accused of Multi-Million Dollar Swindle

9 February 2004

AUSTRALIA – As reported by the (Australia) Herald Sun: "A passion for punting fuelled Victoria's biggest stamp duty fraud worth more than $10 million (US$7.76 million), a court heard yesterday.

"Keith Jonathan Fernandez, 34, is accused of pouring the cash into offshore betting accounts and blowing it on gaming chips and racehorses named Not Under Suspicion and The Fraud Squad.

"Documents tendered to Melbourne Magistrates' Court allege Mr Fernandez abused his position as a collector of stamp duty at his company, TQM Legal and Accounting.

"…Mr Fernandez is accused of using money from his company's trust to set up a racing syndicate called The Benachie Group with his wife and brother in May 2000.

"…Court documents claim Mr Fernandez purchased $526,900 in gaming chips at Crown over two years and lost almost half.

"His Tabcorp phone betting account showed similar spending and losses over the same time.

"…The alleged fraud was uncovered when an anonymous letter was sent to the State Revenue Office, the agency responsible for stamp duty…"

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