The former CEO of Billabong, Matthew Perrin, has been jailed for eight years over 12 counts of fraud including forging his wife’s signature to mortgage their Gold Coast home.
The sentence, which includes a non-parole period of four years, was handed down in the District Court in Brisbane on Friday (27 January).
The court heard that Perrin defrauded the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) of $13.5 million in 2008 when he forged the signature of his then wife Nicole Bricknell on loan documents for the $15 million property. The house was solely in his wife’s name.
District Court Judge Julie Dick said the CBA was still owed approximately $9 million. However, Perrin’s defence team said that he intended on paying the loan off when he took it out.
Perrin’s repeated claims that his former wife knew and approved of the mortgage demonstrated he had no remorse for his actions, she added.
Originally pleading not guilty, Dick pointed out that Perrin only confessed to the crime after being presented with substantial evidence.
“You still have no self-realisation and remorse. You seem to simply refuse to recognise that it was you who forged the documents and you who caused them to be presented to the bank.”
In sentencing, Dick considered Perrin’s clean criminal record, character references, prior charitable deeds, and the humiliation he had suffered publicly during the trial. The eight year sentence also includes the 39 days he spent in pre-sentence custody.
At his peak, Perrin had an estimated net worth of $75 million. This was shared with Bricknell who separated from him in 2009 after he confessed to her about the fraud.
Perrin’s lawyer, Nathan Hounsell, spoke to the media outside the court on Friday and said an appeal had already been lodged.
“An appeal against my client’s conviction has been filed and we’ll be expediting that appeal as quickly as possible.”
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