Prison prescribed for medical centre fraudster
JAIL has been deemed the best medicine after a con artist fleeced a couple out of $132,000 and invested the money between his assets, including a Central Queensland business.
Ronald James Richardson, the former Fraser Shores Medical Centre owner, duped a couple who approached him after seeing an ad in Mackay.
Richardson's business was buying and selling medical centres.
And he was "in a position of trust" regarding the couple with a self-managed superannuation fund who made contact, Judge Nathan Jarro said.
Richardson advertised about medical centre investments with a "12.5% guaranteed return," Brisbane District Court heard on Thursday.
The con artist took $75,000 from the couple.
Then he was declared bankrupt.
But in December 2012, when banned from acting as a company director, a company Richardson controlled borrowed $100,000 more from the couple.
"Those funds did not go to purchase medical equipment but the bulk was diverted to other accounts." Judge Jarro said.
Richardson paid back more than $40,000, so the total amount defrauded was $132,985.15.
The fraudster, 63, has been in and out of court several times this decade.
The crimes he was sentenced for this week happened before his conviction for a different fraud in 2013.
That year, jurors found he illegally funnelled investors' money into an interest-bearing account.
His companies set up practices in Gympie, in Biloela and in NSW.
Richardson, a married father of three, was released on parole in 2015.
During a bail application last year, Crown prosecutor Ron Swanwick said Richardson displayed a "chronic pattern of dishonesty over a lifetime".
On Thursday, the Crown wanted Richardson to go to jail with no parole for at least six months.
But his behaviour while on bail for the latest charges was impeccable, the court heard.
Richardson's wife and one of his daughters wrote letters of support.
Defence counsel Kate Juhasz said Richardson should be released on parole at once.
Judge Jarro said a term of imprisonment was "the only option".
Richardson was jailed for two and a half years but will be released on parole on July 30 this year.
Nobody was in court to support him.
He appeared to send someone a text after learning he was going to jail, then was led off into custody. -NewsRegional