THE jury which will decide the fate of alleged fraudster real estate agent Chris Deutrom were told yesterday they will likely be sent out to deliberate early next week.
Deutrom, 50, yesterday afternoon resumed his place in the dock after more than a day of gruelling cross-examination. The former boss of Elders real estate agencies in Darwin has pleaded not guilty to eight counts of obtaining benefit by deception, charges which stem from him allegedly siphoning off around $230,000 in advertising rebates from the NT News and realestate.com.au – which were meant to be paid to the company.
Under cross-examination from Crown Prosecutor David Morters SC, Deutrom denied an email he sent to the NT News when one of the payments was due was “vicious”, instead describing it as “cranky”.
Deutrom denied Mr Morters’s suggestion he was in “particular financial difficulty” at the time of the alleged offending, although Mr Morters pointed to emails from tradies complaining of late payments for the Deutroms’ Cullen Bay mansion. He said a $14,993 bill for the installation of a lift at the Cullen Bay house was paid before any of the alleged offending, and a glazier’s bill was still yet to be paid years later because “my house leaks like a sieve”. When asked why bank records showed him spending the money soon after it landed in his account, Deutrom said: “because that’s what you do with money”. He denied he was lying to his boss, Greg Dunne, in an email in which he said he had put the money aside in his own bank account to pay for a staff trip to Bali.
Deutrom said he was transparent with his staff and his bosses throughout his time with Elders.
“If I was going to deceive someone to receive the money I would have made fake bank accounts,” he said.
Deutrom said an email in which he told Mr Dunne he had betrayed his trust and felt like an “absolute ‘f**kwit’” for putting the money in his personal company’s bank account was written when “they had convinced me what I had done was wrong” and when he was trying to save his job.
“I was saying I did it for the greater good,” he said.
Mr Morters said: “A far better way to keep your job would be to say, ‘Mr Dunne, Greg, I’m really sorry that I diverted that $14,410 into my company account but I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong, because I was going to use it for company expenses ...’ (rather) than to say in very clear terms that what you did was wrong.”
Deutrom said repaying $90,000 to the company, along
Darwin Real estate agent Chris