Jeffrey Brian Richardson, 46, from Chermside West, was yesterday sentenced to at least 11 months behind bars for swindling five customers by selling their bikes without permission, netting $200,000.
Supercar driver Russell Ingall lost $22,000 after his Harley was sold, and Gold Coast Bandidos president Sava Cvetkovic lost $20,000 when his bike was sold.
Crown prosecutor Sam Bain told the court five customers entrusted their bikes to Richardson so he could display or customise them. They only realised their bikes were missing when Chopperworks in Albion went bust in June 2012.
Douglas Wilson, told the court his client had been
threatened several times by at least one man “associated
with outlaw motorcycle gangs”.
District Court Judge Ian Dearden told Richardson there was a saying that applied to his bikie clients: “When you sup with the devil and you steal the devil’s gold, you just can’t do it with a long enough spoon to avoid the consequences.”
Mr Wilson told the court one victim, Brian Murphy, whose $70,000 Harley was sold without permission, had confronted Richardson.
“(He has had) visits from Mr Murphy, who has sat in their lounge room and said he will have the money for the bike whether it comes from Jeff or they sell the family home and pay him,” Mr Wilson told the court.
Mr Wilson said Richardson and his family had moved around Queensland to try to avoid being located by his creditors.
Police arrested him six months later when they found him living under an assumed name in the coastal town of Bowen.
He was found with a loaded handgun and a knuckleduster, and yesterday pleaded guilty to possessing illegal weapons.
Judge Dearden said it was concerning that Richardson had tried to cover up his fraud with the “disappearance” of the business’s computer server and records before a liquidator took control.
The judge said none of the victims had been repaid.
“You chose to defraud others in a hopeless attempt to keep the business running,” Judge Dearden said.
Richardson was sentenced to 4½ years in prison.