Sun, May 19, 3:07am by Kevin Pitstock
Former TZ Limited CEO Andrew Sigalla was arrested at the Intercontinental Hotel on Friday, May 17 for his role in a gambling-related corporate fraud case. The Sydney businessman took $6,151,317 from his business’s accounts to pay back loans and gambling debts in excess of $6 million.
The gambling debts were owed to the Tom Waterhouse bookmaker service. The charges stem from Sigalla allegedly withdrawing money from accounts without properly recording the transaction. Further charges by ASIC officials allege he did not record the withdrawals in published accounts and annual reports, while he did not receive permission from the board of directors to make the transactions.
The Australian Securities and Investment Commission alleges Sigalla took money on 16 different occasions between March 2008 and March 2009. Most of this money was used to repay gambling debts to the Tom Waterhouse online bookmaker service.
Chief executive Brett Warfield of Warfield & Associates explains that almost half of the cases involving million dollar fraud with corporate funds are due to gambling problems. Over an eleven year span from 2001 to 2012, Australia had 93 cases of million-dollar fraud at corporations. Of these cases, 46 stemmed from the effects of gambling addiction.
Gaming is just one of the danger activities, though.
Brett Warfield tells companies to look out for warning signs. Employees volunteering to work for free might have ulterior motives, like raiding the company assets. Workers who make unexpected purchases of luxury items, expensive cars, or foreign trips also might be stealing company funds. Those with any form of addiction can lead to problems with money. Mr Warfield cited gambling addiction and heroin addiction as two examples, though the juxtaposition is a bit unfortunate.
This is not the first time Andrew Sigalla has had trouble with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission. NSW Supreme Court records show he was cited with contempt of court and forced to perform 120 hours of community service. The contempt ruling came after Sigalla did not inform the NSW Supreme Court of $30,000 in credit card charges to escort services.
This time, the business executive appeared before the Sydney Central Local Court. The court did not require Mr Sigalla to make a plea, but he was asked to surrender his passport.
TZ Limited makes and markets electronics. Andrew Sigalla was removed from the chief executive position in mid-2009. He was replaced by Mark Bouris, who is currently starring on this year’s Celebrity Apprentice.
Later, the Bouris-led TZ Limited initiated legal action against Mr Sigalla for $7.5 million. This case was settled out of court, but a case brought by Tom Waterhouse in 2010 bankrupted Sigalla. In the 2010 Waterhouse filing, it was mentioned Sigalla owed $2.6 million to Tom Waterhouse.
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