Alleged fraudster accused of stealing $2m

AN ALLEGED fraudster, accused of stealing $2 million from clients, including Mackay victims, wants to embark on a two-week business trip to China to further his employer-girlfriend's business.

His girlfriend would fund the trip but a court has knocked back her surety offer because she has also been charged with fraud in the past.

Shaun Daniel Fitzgerald, 39, is accused of spending money his clients trusted him with instead of investing it and passing 30 valueless cheques on the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Mackay.

The former Sunshine Coast-based financial planner applied in the Brisbane Supreme Court this week to have his bail conditions varied to allow him to travel overseas.

Affidavits filed to the court reveal Fitzgerald has been working - on commission - as the business development manager for a Brisbane-based lifestyle guide since May 2012.

Fitzgerald is in a relationship with his employer, guide founder Bodhi Mary Hunter.

In Ms Hunter's affidavit, she stated she had appointed Fitzgerald to oversee a new branch of the company, which sources specialised toiletries for hotels and resorts in Queensland.

Ms Hunter stated the Inchcolm Hotel in Brisbane and Castaways Resort at Mission Beach had entered conditional contracts to receive the boutique toiletries.

But court documents revealed the company hit a snag with samples, sourced from China, as they fell short of the company's specifications.

Fitzgerald has asked the Supreme Court to allow him to travel to China and Hong Kong from January 14 to 26 to liaise with manufacturers about the products.

But Justice John Byrne told Fitzgerald's legal team in court if their client had the money to fly to China, he should find the money to pay people back.

Documents also reveal Ms Hunter was convicted of a minor fraud offence in 2011 and her $50,000 surety could not be accepted.

Crown Prosecutor Sarah Klemm opposed Fitzgerald's application, stating in a written submission filed to the court that a number of people received financial advice from Fitzgerald and trusted him.

Fitzgerald allegedly handed his clients cheques with their investment and returns but the cheques bounced.

Fitzgerald's bail application has been adjourned until today.



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