The Gold Coast Bulletin
‘IRISH BOYS’ SYNDICATE HEAD LOCKED UP OVER BET SCAM
AN “architect” of a major Gold Coast fraud syndicate who contributed to hundreds of people being defrauded of more than $4 million dollars has been jailed.
Fraudster Neil John McKenny, 37, pleaded guilty in the Southport District Court yesterday to a slew of fraud and uttering charges in relation to the scams that personally netted him more than $522,000.
It is the first major conviction in relation to the “Irish Boys” and “Bundall” cold calling syndicates which defrauded 350 victims.
The court was told police and the Crime and Corruption Commission invested $5 million and two years of work into catching the scammers who were busted in August 2015.
Victims across the country were persuaded by salespeople to fork out tens of thousands of dollars for sports betting computer software that never worked. The court was told the level of fraud was so sophisticated that scammers set up fake websites, testimonials, award ceremonies and even competing businesses to dupe victims.
The scammers also used online search engine optimisation to filter out undesirable material from internet searches.
McKenny, an Irish IT expert, continued working for them and set up the Bundall syndicate with two other people just months later.
Defence barrister Angus Edwards said McKenny had returned to normal work.
In sentencing, Judge Richard Jones said McKenny became a willing participant after realising how lucrative the scam was.
Judge Jones said McKenny, a father of two, had shown remorse and was a low risk of reoffending.
He was sentenced to five-and-ahalf years prison with a parole eligibility date in 20 months from July 21, 2020.