The Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - NICHOLAS MCEL­ROY

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.

Neil McKenny net­ted more than half a mil­lion dol­lars from vic­tims of a so­phis­ti­cated sports bet­ting scam.

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