Half a million taken in sports betting scam
A SPORTS betting scam left 19 Gold Coasters more than half a million out of pocket and the man responsible has gone to prison - eight years after he first started taking their savings.
John Robert Hanneman, 58, enticed people to invest in his bogus sports betting company with promises of about 28 per cent returns.
One man who had already invested $109,000 was convinced to reinvest a further $13,000 after Hanneman told him the owner had fled to England with the original cash.
Hanneman told the man the additional money would be used for legal fees to get the investment back.
Hanneman took more than $398,000 from the other 18 victims.
The former salesman pleaded guilty in Southport District Court to two counts of fraud causing detriment over $30,000 and one count of fraud.
Hanneman was sentenced to seven years prison and will not be eligible for parole until January 2021.
Judge Katherine McGinness said: "The complaint's money was hard earned wages or money they saved over a period of time."
She said one victim has cashed in an insurance policy to make the investment.
The court was told the complainants were unlikely to see a majority of the $520,858 taken from them between March 2008 and June 2009.
Hanneman has paid back about $21,700.
Ms McGinness said that while she did not have victim impact statement from all the people who lost money, she accepted the victims had suffered.
"They have all been affected not just financially but psychologically and emotionally," she said.
The court was told Hanneman was arrested in 2015 after police linked him to a post office box operated by the sports betting company.
Defence barrister Simon Lewis, instructed by Ashkan Tai Lawyers, said Hanneman has started the scam after his businesses began to fail.
"As a result of some business decision in the early 2000s and that was followed by the global financial crisis he took up an opportunity that was offered to him," Mr Lewis said.
"This offending started as a result of him going into the sports betting industry."
Mr Lewis said since he was arrested, Hanneman and his wife had split.
Hanneman, dressed in a black suit with light blue shirt and tie, remained stoic during the sentencing and did not react when he was sentenced to prison time.