Australia’s Jordanou Gets 12 Years for His Gaming Swindles

Australia’s Jordanou Gets 12 Years for His Gaming Swindles

A former professional poker player has been sent to prison for 12 years for illegally obtaining a massive amount of money from banking institutions in Australia to the tune of more than $53 million.

William Jordanou used the money to fuel an ultra-luxurious lifestyle, although he has a history of doing very well in poker tournaments throughout Australia.

Jordanou’s Play

Jordanou’s PlayThe former poker player won nearly $600,000 in 19 tournaments between 2009 and 2013. Jordanou had the most successful year of his career in 2009 when he won $14,000 in one tournament and $165,000 in another. Both of these tournaments required antes of $1,650 and $22,500, respectively. The largest pot Jordanou took home was in 2010, when he won $203,000 for a third-place finish in a high-roller tour with a $100,000 ante. Jordanou is known in poker circles as a gambler who takes a lot of chances during poker tournaments.

The 60-year-old must spend at least nine years in jail because, in the words of the judge, the fraud was of “breathtaking proportions.”

The Fraud

While Jordanou and his partner, Robert Zaia, were pleading guilty, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia noticed that both men had unusual and suspicious transactions in their accounts as early as 2007. Unfortunately, it did not let police know until four years later. The two men took money from investors, as well as banks, ostensibly to fund a property investment company. In reality, however, the men used the money to buy cars, jet skis, and boats. They also went on gambling trips to Las Vegas and Macau where they spent millions of dollars. Some of the victims lost millions in the fraud scheme.

The Commonwealth Bank is not the only bank Jordanou and his partner defrauded. Also targeted were Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, Bank of Queensland, Westpac, Rhino Money, and La Trobe Financial Services. The fraud, which consisted of 23 loans, supposedly on behalf of clients, was one of the largest frauds ever committed in the Australian state of Victoria.

In addition to Jordanou and Zaia, another accountant was also involved and has also pleaded guilty.

How Complicit Was the Fraud?

Several bank employees stated they knew Jordanou was using fake documents and statements to defraud victims, yet the bank continued to give Jordanou money and did not warn the victims about the possible fraud. Employees of the bank have said all the bank had to do was look at the files. The two men reported excessive amounts of income without pay stubs or records of investment income to back up their claims. However, the police department investigated and found no collusion between the bank and the men.

The prosecution asked for more time, but the judge refused. He said because the bank did not look closely at the documentation that Jordanou provided, the bank did not exercise due diligence during its documentation and loan processes. The bank argued the man who approved the loans could not be questioned because he died during the investigation.

This is not the first time a professional poker player has been accused of defrauding banks or institutions. An American poker player was sentenced in Sydney for bank fraud of around $7 million, and an Australian poker player has been accused of fraud at one of the Macau casinos for more than $2 million.

Researchers have noted that the risk-taking behavior of poker players may lead them to believe they can take risks in other areas as well. But, as Jordanou and his partners found out, the risk-taking behavior may lead to jail time.

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