$1m fraud case plea: Man says he’s guilty of obtaining financial advantage by deception

THE director of a former Mildura-based export/import company, who is alleged to have fraudulently obtained more than $1 million over the running of the business, has indicated he will plead guilty to obtaining financial advantage by deception charges.

However, Jason Aubrey Kotz, who was the director of JAK Fruit when it went into voluntary liquidation in November 2010, yesterday said through his lawyer that the gravity of the offence was not admitted.

Office of Public Prosecutions counsel Alex Lew yesterday told the Mildura Magistrates’ Court that Kotz fraudulently obtained $1,044,000 –  stemming from eight separate charges ranging between $42,000 and $270,000.

Defence counsel Philip Hayes said his client reserved the right to dispute the quantum alleged.

Mr Hayes said that while there may be grounds on which to contest the offences, Kotz felt it was best to plead to the charges.

The court was told that Kotz had access to an ANZ Bank loan facility, which would pay up to 85 per cent on 30 day-invoices issued to overseas purchases of fruit from Sunraysia and which was repayable to the bank.

Mr Hayes said that when the global financial crisis struck, ANZ called in the loan, and while JAK Fruit was not trading in any difficulty, found itself in a “perilous” situation and went into liquidation.

He said it was challenged that the level of the offence was as significant as the prosecution had alleged.

He said the issue of quantum went to whether there had been a duplication of invoices.

The counsel sought to have his client’s next County Court hearing held in Melbourne, because the accused was now living in Geelong and working as a import/export fruit contractor.

He said Kotz was attempting to save the court as much time as possible and if compensation or restitution orders were made, his client wanted to be in the best possible financial position by the end of this financial year.

For more of this story, purchase your copy of Friday's Sunraysia Daily 16/11/2012.

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