Businessman jailed over ‘breathtaking’ $395m NDIS fraud

A businessman who conned international investors into handing over tens of millions of dollars as part of a National Disability Insurance Scheme charade will spend at least eight years in prison.

Demetrios “James” Charisiou, 63, duped two Korean-based firms into giving his company LBA Capital $394,740,000 in credit under the guise of investing the money into NDIS-supported properties in Melbourne.

None of the properties were purchased and most of the money sat in an account.

The 2019 ruse was sophisticated and complex, with Charisiou faking documents to get the money, Justice John Champion told the Supreme Court on Friday.

Charisiou also met with representatives from the companies – JB Asset Management and KB Securities – when they flew out to Melbourne, the judge said.

As a successful businessman with an inflated sense of ego, backing out of the NDIS deal with the investors was not an attractive prospect for Charisiou, Justice Champion said.

“To your own folly, you have lost much that underpinned your way of life,” the judge told Charisiou.

“The scale of your fraudulent activity was breathtaking, however must be kept in perspective.”

About $38 million of the almost $395 million was the subject of charges against Charisiou, who pleaded guilty to two counts of using false documents and two counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception.

Justice Champion said while Charisiou was unlikely to reoffend, there was a risk he remained driven by his ego and “illusions of grandiosity.”

The judge sentenced Charisiou to 12 years’ jail, with a non-parole period of eight years.

The 63-year-old has already spent more than 190 days behind bars.

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