Adams defrauded more than $500,000 from his employer Harwood Marine
Adams defrauded more than $500,000 from his employer Harwood Marine Image Source

Scammer defrauds $500,000 to support Asian girlfriends

FOR almost five years, Glenn Adams sought to enjoy the affection and adulation of a series of Filipino and Thai women by financially helping them to improve their lives.

What they didn't know was that Adams defrauded more than $500,000 from his employer Harwood Marine to pay for his lifestyle of helping the women with whom he had relationships.

Adams, 63, pleaded guilty to dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception by 183 bogus transactions, which totalled $548,074 from January 1, 2012 until he was caught in November, 2016.

In evidence given at his sentencing hearing at Grafton District Court on Tuesday, Adams travelled with a friend to the Philippines in 2008 where he met a woman at a karaoke bar and began a relationship with her and financially supported her and her three young children to establish a family business.

About this time Adams' employer began a joint venture with a Filipino company to build international standard boats, and Adams regularly travelled to the country.

After a long-distance relationship failed, Adams continued to financially support the woman, and in 2009 began another relationship with another woman in the Philippines he met in a bar after work. Adams then began to financially support the woman and her 18-month-old son.

Over the next three years, Adams began relationships with another six women from the Philippines and Thailand and proceeded to financially support all of them, using funds fraudulently obtained from his employer.

In his testimony, Adams said the relationships were not just about sex, and he said he formed an emotional attachment to the women and gained satisfaction from helping them.

"I just wanted to help them. I didn't hold myself out to be rich but they requested money and I genuinely believed they needed it and I set myself up on a bad path," Adams said.

According to police facts, while Adams did not have any formal accounting qualifications he was employed by Harwood Marine to do bookkeeping in 2005, and by 2010 had become the chief financial officer and had complete banking control of the company when the offending began in 2012.

The fraud was inadvertently discovered by Harwood Marine general manager Gio Cervella when an inflated invoice for minor landscaping work was questioned and an accountant was hired to investigate Harwood Marine's financial records.

The accountant showed Adams had made 183 fraudulent transactions over a four-year, ten-month period for small but increasing amounts through invoices that appeared to be from legitimate companies that supplied good and services to Harwood Marine.

Adams would then manipulate the accounting system and enter his own bank details into the payment instead of Harwood Marine's before changing them back to the correct company after payment had been processed.

In civil court action, Adams paid back $270,000 to Harwood Marine in a settlement reached. In sentencing, Acting Judge C. O'Connor said the method of fraud was sophisticated, with multiple accounts and invoices, and without detection the deception would likely have continued.

Acting Judge O'Connor said Adams increasingly assumed the role of financial benefactor for a growing number of women and he felt a part of their family.

"You made a choice in adopting a lifestyle to enjoy the adulation and affection of Filipino and Thai women at the expense of your employer," Judge O'Connor said.

Adams was sentenced to three years behind bars, with a non-parole period of one year, nine months. He will be eligible for release in May 2020. Harwood Marine's managing director Ross Roberts was gutted at Adams' betrayal.

"He was a good man, who was tested and failed," Mr Roberts said.

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