Judge cuts five months off defrauder's sentence

AN accountant involved in the scheme to help music entrepreneur Glenn Wheatley hide profits from a Kostya Tszyu boxing match has had five months shaved off his jail sentence.

Philip Eric de Figueiredo was sentenced to six years jail in March for his instrumental role in defrauding the Australian government of more than $4 million.

He was to be released on a four-year good behaviour bond after he had served two years and five months in jail. He had already served 55 days in custody.

During sentencing, the court heard de Figueiredo was not the "architect" and was not the "promoter" of the scheme but he did play an integral role.

He would inflate true business expenses, sometimes more than 2000%, and then claim the fake invoices as deductions through the Australian taxation system.

de Figueiredo did not devise the scheme for Wheatley, who managed John Farnham for two decades, but he was involved in creating fake invoices.

Justice John Muir, in a Queensland Court of Appeal judgment handed down on Friday, said the six-year sentence was within range regarding the overall criminality of the conduct, including de Figueiredo's involvement in the Wheatley scheme.

But he said de Figueiredo's guilty pleas, which avoided the expense and inconvenience of a lengthy trial, and his valuable cooperation were not reflected.

Justice Muir, in agreeance with two other appeal court justices, found the 18 months custody suggested would be an affront to community standards but accepted five months should be shaved off.

"In my respectful opinion, the applicant's past cooperation was substantial and, when coupled with the pleas of guilty, deserving of more recognition than that given by the sentencing judge," he said.

de Figueiredo did not live an extravagant lifestyle but the sentencing judge did not accept he did not profit from the schemes.

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