Queensland Police Charge Gambling Fraudster

One of the region’s biggest gamblers – considered a VIP customer at several large casinos – has been charged with gambling-related fraud. The case was brought to the attention of police several weeks ago, and on the surface appears to be one of the most substantial fraud cases ever related to the gaming industry.

Panoramic view of Queensland Gold Coast.

The fraud case involving a 55 year-old-man who misappropriated funds from his previous employer to use as a personal gambling cash reserve has been charged and is awaiting sentencing, the case is the largest ever gambling-related fraud case ever in Australia. ©Freesally/Pixabay

Paul John Montgomery is accused of misappropriating over $10 million through his personal bank accounts, having stolen the money from his employer. The firm in question is a civil engineering contractor by the name of RDS, and they became the unwitting source of Mr. Montgomery’s personal gambling funds. The family business founded in 1969 had employed him since 2004, and Mr. Montgomery was said to be a close friend of the owners prior to the fraudulent betrayal.

The fraud relates to a 10 year period, from 2007 to 2017 where the 55-year-old Mr. Montgomery siphoned funds from the accounts of his employer. Through a variety of accounting tricks and fraudulent invoices, he was able to cover his tracks for over a decade, using the funds to gamble at some of Australia’s biggest and most luxurious casinos.

This week though, the fraudulent crimes of the past decade finally caught up with him, as he was charged with one count of fraud in the Brisbane Magistrates Court. A senior detective working on the case explained to the press outside the courthouse that Mr. Montgomery used the stolen funds primarily for gambling activity, but also for purchasing property, and a variety of personal expenses he incurred whilst living a lifestyle well beyond his means. Also, it was noted that the defendant was betting with multiple companies during this time.

Given the enormous sums of money, the defendant is accused of misappropriating over the 10 year period, it is no surprise that he lived the high-roller life on the casino floor. Mr. Montgomery held a VIP status with several gambling operators, and many of them gave him corporate gratitude, gifts, and inducements to ensure that he kept playing at the operator. Gifts given to VIP customers are usually in the form of high-end event tickets, from live sport to horse racing and State of Origin rugby games.

Gambling Operators Also Investigated for Complicity

It is a well-known fact that high-roller players are the most prized customers within the industry. VIP players usually contribute to the majority of profits, and this is not something exclusive or unique within Australia. It is estimated that within the UK betting industry, high-roller customers are responsible for over 80% of the gross gaming revenue. These players are a rare stock, though, and account for less than 2% of the customer base on average.

The Australian authorities are keen to investigate whether the casinos were aware of any discrepancies surrounding the deposits of Mr. Montgomery, as regulation and law insist that all suspicious financial transactions over a threshold of $10,000 are reported. Following the paper-trail is the work currently at hand, and tracking where the money went after being deposited at the casino will go a great deal in revealing the complicity of the operators in this case.

With Mr. Montgomery now out on bail and awaiting sentencing, Australia’s biggest gambling-related fraud case ever is slowly reaching one part of its conclusion. Whether there will be further litigation against casinos currently being investigated for their role facilitating the misappropriated funds remains to be seen. One possible solution for future cases would be to use AI to vet gamblers, these machine learning systems are able to flag and identify suspicious customer transactions more efficiently than a human controller.

The former employer of Mr. Montgomery, the general manager of RDS Warne Gurney said that there had been suspicions for a long time regarding the conduct of his former employee. It wasn’t until the company hired a forensic account that they were able to pinpoint the exact nature of the fraudulent activity, where there were a series of unexplainable and surprising discrepancies in the accounts. After years of struggles, trials, and tribulations, the family business is said to be recovering and slowly getting back to normal.

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