Pilot in Alice balloon disaster goes to gaol again

p2141-ballooningOne of the two pilots in the balloon collision which killed 13 people in Alice Springs on August 13, 1989, received a five year sentence for fraud in the District Court of Gympie, Queensland, last week.

 

Michael Winston Sanby, now 60, in 1992 was sentenced by the Northern Territory Supreme Court to two years’ jail, with an eight-month non-parole period, after an eight-man, four-woman jury had found him guilty of committing a dangerous act.

 

The sentence Mr Sanby received last week took into account 88 days pre-sentence custody and will be suspended after 20 months.

 

This is how the Gympie Times reported the case. (We are re-printing part of the report with their permission):

 

A Gympie business man has been sentenced to five years’ jail for defrauding nearly half a million dollars from financial institutions.

 

Sanby defrauded hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Commonwealth Bank and Scottish Pacific Business Finance.

 

His offending began at the end of 2007 against SPB and was committed through his Gympie-based business AAA Advanced Stairlifts. Sanby started submitting false invoices to SPB, the debtor finance company Sanby used to assist clients in attaining loans to buy his equipment.

 

Sanby selected names of real people and businesses – many were either prior customers or known to him – forged their signatures on false invoices and verification material and ultimately attained payments from SPB for the fictitious purchases.

 

In total, SPB paid Sanby $1,056,586.79 for equipment he never sold, however Sanby was using new loans to pay old ones back so by the end of the scheming in May 2009, SPB was out of pocket $110,497.29.

 

The court heard as Sanby continued to cash in from SPB, he was also in the process of defrauding $330,433.00 from the Commonwealth Bank.

 

Sanby was approved for two loans from the Commonwealth Bank to build houses on one property in Curra and another in Bauple.

 

Sanby put up mortgage insurance and both properties that were to be developed as security for the loans. The money was to be lent as the development progressed, and Sanby was required to submit documented proof that work was being done.

 

The court heard Sanby lodged false documents, using a building company’s letterhead and forging the signature of a builder, in order to attain further payments for the properties.

 

In total, $188,433 was loaned for the Curra property and $142,000 was loaned for development at Bauple.

 

It wasn’t until September 2009, after Sanby’s business went into liquidation and he declared bankruptcy, that the bank foreclosed on the properties and it was discovered that the Curra development was only partially completed and there had been little work at all undertaken on the property at Bauple.

 

Sanby had been loaned a total of $330,433 from the Commonwealth Bank. However after the mortgage insurance was paid and both properties were sold, the bank was left with a defrauded deficit of $82,794.12. Sanby pleaded guilty to defrauding a total of $440,930.29.

 

PHOTO: Image of balloon flights in Alice Springs on the web today.

 

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