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Trio fraudster jailed for theft

A SMOOTH-TALKING Canadian patsy took the fall for Australia's largest superannuation theft yesterday, but the major beneficiary of the crime remains at large.

A SMOOTH-TALKING Canadian patsy took the fall for Australia's largest superannuation theft yesterday, but the major beneficiary of the crime remains at large.

Shawn Richard, known by his Facebook nickname Shawny Cash, was sentenced in the New South Wales Supreme Court to a minimum of 2 years in jail yesterday.

The sentence immediately drew the ire of investors in Trio Capital, which collapsed in late 2009. Investors lost $180 million sent to offshore hedge funds through Astarra Strategic and ARP Growth.

"We will be paying for many more years," Beth Roffe, a Wollongong investor who lost $500,000 and is now living on the pension, said outside the court yesterday.

John Hempton, a fund manager who first exposed the fraud, said: "This has caused a very large number of people a very large amount of pain. If he had mugged three of those people and took their purses he would have probably got a longer sentence."

Richard, 36, appeared haggard and unshaven as Justice Peter Garling found he was "motivated simply by greed" when he directed $26.6 million into offshore funds, knowing the money was being stolen.

But Justice Garling's sentencing remarks show a US citizen based in Hong Kong, Jack Flader, was the real mastermind and major beneficiary of the crime. Flader remains at large.

Justice Garling sentenced Richard to a maximum sentence of three years and nine months.

He said he was prepared to accept that Richard, described by his lawyer as "ripe for the picking", had been naive and gullible when he first started working for Flader.

But he said benefits received by Richard included secret payments of $1.3 million paid into personal bank accounts in Liechtenstein and Curacao and payments to his company of $5.3 million.

"Mr Richard is guilty of serious crimes of a high order. They were carefully considered and planned, they were concealed, they continued over a period of nearly four years and they led to significant financial losses," he said.

"Whilst he may not have been the ultimate controller, a role attributed to Mr Flader, he was the central figure in Australia without whose participation these offences could not have occurred."

He gave Richard a 25 per cent discount on his sentence for contrition including pleading guilty early and a further 12.5 per cent for his help in an undisclosed matter.

Due to his help, Richard will serve his sentence in protective custody.


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