Australian Fraudster Jailed After Stealing $2.7 Million; Blames Gambling

An Australian fraudster was jailed for six years and nine months after he defrauded a 66-year-old man out of his $2.7 million life savings.

Judge Timothy Sharp jailed an Australian fraudster for six years and nine months after he conned a 66-year-old man out of his life savings. Munir Muzafar Fakhrus Hassanali defrauded a member of a Perth religious community out of $2.7 million. Hassanali admitted he gambled most of the money away and has no way of repaying the victim.

Fraudster Hassanali and his 66-year-old victim belong to a Muslim religious community in Perth. Such communities often have a custom of loaning money to fellow members without any interest charges. The elderly gentleman agreed to guarantee a $30,000 loan in Hassanali’s name as an act of kindness. However, it led to the fraudster targeting the generous man and defrauding him of his life savings.

The Perth District Court heard how Hassanali committed 82 acts of fraud between June 2017 and November 2019. Hassanali pretended he needed the money for non-existent business ventures, often creating elaborate stories to back up his claims. He provided fake documentation on at least one occasion.

The victim loaned Hassanali as little as $1,000 but as much as $200,000 over the years. Hassanali paid back only $41,000 of the $2.7 million loaned to him.

Fraudster Blames Gambling For His Deceit

Police arrested Hassanali in December 2019 following Financial Crimes Squad investigation. Hassanali immediately confessed that he lost the funds gambling and he suffered from a severe gambling addiction. The fact the fraudster lost the money gambling means he has no means of repaying the victim.

“The victim harm is severe,” State prosecutor Rebekah Sleeth said. “He was a hardworking, trusting, kind man who lost his dignity and his life savings because of the callous greed of one very deceitful man.”

Deceit was a common theme in Judge Timothy Sharp’s summation.

“Your offending was continuous, and it persisted over a period of two years. You demonstrated a calculated pattern of deceit, which only stopped when the police intervened. Your entire offending targeted one man.”

Judge Sharp received several character references on behalf of Hassanali but concluded the fraudster was not remorseful for his actions. Judge Sharp sentenced Hassanali to six years and nine months in jail. He must serve at least four years and nine months before the state considers him for release.

Other High Profile Fraud Cases

Hassanali is not the first fraudster to get their hands on ill-gotten gains and splurged it all gambling. Rachel Naomi Perri pleaded guilty in November 2021 to stealing $940,221 from her employer. In addition, Perri accumulated $24,000 on a fraudulent credit card.

Perri worked for the Tasmanian Veterinary Hospital between 2016 and 2019. The fraudster began stealing almost immediately after joining the company. She made 475 fraudulent transactions totalling $940,221.

Perri gambled away all of the money, but there is a twist. Why? Because the gambling app Perri blew the money on does not award monetary prizes. A judge jailed Perri for six years in December 2021, but Perri appealed against the severity of the sentence. Tasmania’s Court of Criminal Appeal dismissed her appeal. The fraudster is eligible for parole in three-and-a-half years.

Alleged fraudster Michael Gu hit the headlines in July 2021 after news reports revealed he spent up to $8 million of his former customers’ money at Crown Melbourne. Gu ran a property company that investors were led to believe was highly profitable. However, Gu fled Australia in August 2020 with his iProsperity company $325 million in the red.

Sources suggest Gu, his wife, and their fleet of expensive cars, fled to Los Angeles via New Zealand. Gu helped himself to $21 million in loans using company money in the run-up to his disappearance. Also, he spent $1 million purchasing passports for the Pacific Island of Vanuatu.