Thursday, 22 May 2008

Man jailed for possessing fake bonds

A former bank manager who tried to sell $US900 billion ($A935.55 billion) in fake bonds to the Turkish government will spend the next six months behind bars.

William David Wallader, 62, of Kilcoy, 95km north-west of Brisbane, was found guilty by a Brisbane District Court jury of nine counts of possessing a counterfeit-prescribed security.

He was sentenced on Thursday to 12 months' jail, but will be released on a good behaviour bond after serving half of that sentence.

During the trial the court was told Wallader was found with nine of the counterfeit bonds - purportedly worth $US1.3 billion ($A1.35 billion) - in his possession on March 18, 2005, when Australian Federal Police (AFP) seized a box of his documents.

Prosecutor Glen Rice told the court Wallader had been in discussions with a Turkish national about selling a box of 3,000 similar bonds to the Turkish government for a small percentage of their face value.

Mr Rice said, however, that the plan was always doomed to fail because the bonds had numerous spelling and grammatical errors on them, and had been cheaply produced on a home inkjet printer.

"It's impossible to believe the notes would have survived scrutiny by the Turkish government," Mr Rice said.

Wallader's defence counsel Alan MacSporran agreed, saying the bonds were "transparently non-genuine".

The court was told Wallader had received the bonds from a couple he met in the Philippines, who told him a priest had asked them to sell the documents in order to help mountain tribes.

Wallader signed a number of agreements with the couple, promising to on-sell the bonds, and to split the profits from the sale.

Mr Rice told the court that Wallader, who had a lengthy background in finance, would have realised the bonds were fake.

Mr MacSporran told the court his client's actions were "very hard to explain" but that it was likely his judgment had been clouded by depression.

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