Actor helped scam $3.7M in boiler room
AN actor and telemarketer who was an "essential cog" in a giant boiler room scheme which swindled $3.7 million claims he made no profit apart from his salary from the scam.
Tomas Anthony Novak was paid $100,000 to $120,000 a year to work at a company which sold a fake computer program and a fake betting program between February 2010 and 2014.
The company underwent four name changes after warnings about the scam was made public.
But Novak did not leave and kept selling bogus products.
The 55-year-old pleaded guilty in the Southport District Court on Wednesday to one count of fraud.
Judge Catherine Muir sentenced Novak to five years prison to be suspended after he has served six months.
"The businesses rebranded once complaints were made," she said.
"Despite the fact you were a salesman you still remained an important cog in the wheel."
Crown prosecutor Matt Hynes said Novak was the salesman who would sell faulty software packages to people and made bad betting promises.
He said some of the 37 people targeted invested about $18,000 but some, referred to by the scammers as "whales", invested about $1 million.
As a telemarketer, Novak would make calls promising great results on the product, the court was told.
When the product was delivered, it would be faulty and not work.
Mr Hynes said Novak did not receive any of the $3.7 million profits.
Mr Hynes told the court the business "phoenixed" four times in four years. That means that once a scam warning was put out against a business name, they closed the company and rebranded under a new name.
"He was someone who was an essential cog in that wheel of a big scheme," he said.
The companies all had websites which looked professional and were convincing.
"It was set up well on the internet and devised well by the IT team," he said.
Novak was arrested in South Australia in 2017 and indicated early on he would be pleading guilty.
Mr Hynes said the delays came from the prosecution.
Defence barrister Matthew Jackson said Novak was only paid a salary during the four years he worked for the company.
"His role was important and he is sentenced on the basis he was a telemarketer," he said.
"Turns out he was a pretty good telemarketer.
Novak's co-accused Jack Doumani and Chris Pappas will face Southport Magistrates Court in October for a committal hearing.
Originally published as Actor helped scam $3.7M in boiler room