Lawyer ‘son’ stole $9m from WIN owner Bruce Gordon
A CITY lawyer who stole from his high-profile client to feed his gambling addiction of up to $3 million a day was yesterday jailed for a maximum of six years.
Brody Jack Clarke, 36, who worked for top flight firm Atanskovic Hartnell, fraudulently transferred $9,753,070 from business bank accounts associated with WIN television chief Bruce Gordon into his own Westpac account.
In the District Court, Judge Mark Williams said Clark had became friendly Mr Gordon, was jokingly referred to as his son, was able to ring him directly at his home in Bermuda, and oversaw the renovation of his home units in Sydney.
While Clarke wrote the Constitution and Code of Professional Conduct for the Personal Insolvency Professionals Association, he had poor financial management skills himself and despite earning good money, racked up a debt of $50,000 on credit cards and borrowings from his parents and partner.
His gambling began small but by the time he was found out in September 2017, he was betting an average of over $3 million per day on football games around the world including $1.2 million on two American football games, $1 million on a New Zealand provincial rugby game and $1.5 million on a rugby league match between Sydney Roosters and North Queensland Cowboys.
Judge Williams said Clarke described his betting as "typically large bets on favourites in a two horse race based on limited research".
"On one level this case is a sad illustration of the moral delinquency and immorality of the online betting industry in Australia and the pernicious effects it has upon people seduced by its false promises of easy riches, but instead are often led into fraud and other criminal behaviour," the judge said.
"A highly intelligent, well-educated 36-year-old man with a stellar curriculum vitae, including periods with leading investment banks Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan and with large law firms, foolishly decided to attempt to fund an irrational gambling addiction by stealing."
Clarke was spending $500 a week on cocaine and at Atanskovic Hartnell he worked seven days a week, sometimes living in his car in the firm's car park and showering at the gym.
"He was drinking heavily, with long lunches at work and again after work," Judge Williams said.
He said Clarke had eventually been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, had been in a full-time alcohol and gambling rehabilitation program with the Salvation Army and wanted to make amends to Mr Gordon and his family.
"Clark wrote a heartfelt letter of apology for his reprehensible actions to Mr and Mrs Bruce Gordon describing how he treasured their personal relationship and how he viewed Mr Gordon not only as a client but as an icon of Australian corporate life," the judge said.
The case is now embroiled in civil proceedings and Clarke is giving evidence "to assist the Gordon companies," Judge Williams said.
Clarke pleaded guilty to six counts of fraud and was jailed for a non-parole period of three years with a maximum of six years.