Man who defrauded Leightons gets a year off jail sentence

WHITE-COLLAR fraudster who swindled construction giant Leightons of $20.7 million has had a year shaved off his sentence on appeal.

Damian Victor O'Carrigan was sentenced to 15 years jail in March for the ill-gotten funds which he spent on on his "extravagent and ... dissolute" lifestyle including giving his mistress property and unfettered access to a credit card, as well as spending more than $7 million on his passion for racehorses.

It is the highest sentence imposed for fraud in Queensland.

He now will be eligible to apply for parole after five years, instead of the six he was originally sentenced to, after arguing the latter was manifestly excessive.

Leighton Contractors will only recover up to $4 million of the stolen money but much of that will likely be eroded on legal and accounting costs anyway.

O'Carrigan, who was finance and administation manager, had authority to approve payments up to $5 million.

Psychologist Ronald Frey found after a successful career, O'Carrigan was disillusioned with Leightons and felt it had not given him the recognition and appreciation his hard work had merited.

Queensland Court of Appeal president Margaret McMurdo, in a judgment handed down on Friday, said O'Carrigan's offending was unquestionably one of the largest and most serious examples of fraud to come before Queensland courts, regrettably setting a new record.

"While the fraud was unsophisticated, the fact that it was not discovered for 12 years was because of Leightons' high level of trust in (O'Carrigan) who held a senior managerial position," she said.

"The 12-year period over which the fraud continued diminishes the significance of (his) lack of prior criminal history.

"The proceeds were solely used to support a grand lifestyle."

But Ms McMurdo said setting parole eligibility at the six-year mark did not give sufficient weight to O'Carrigan's extraordinary cooperation.

O'Carrigan, 58 at sentence, will now be eligible for parole on November 7, 2017.

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