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Sportsbet ‘induced my gambling’: accountant in $26m fraud case

Regulation

Benjamin Carter has begun civil action against the betting giant for allegedly unconscionable conduct in relation to his betting behaviour.

By Naomi Neilson 9 minute read

An accountant who allegedly defrauded his clients out of $26 million has commenced a Federal Court civil claim against Sportsbet.

Counsel for Carter’s Tax Advisory founder Benjamin Leigh Carter appeared in court today (25 September) for the first case management hearing of a matter expected to begin next year.

Mr Carter, 37, alleges Sportsbet engaged in unconscionable conduct by offering him “inducements” to keep gambling.

His counsel told the court the betting giant “at all material times” was likely to know of Mr Carter’s habits and alleged Sportsbet had documents “pertaining to the knowledge” that his client had insufficient funds.

During the hearing, Justice Shaun McElwaine questioned whether Mr Carter knew of the risks of advancing the civil case while criminal charges were still on foot, but his counsel was unable to comment.

Instead, he flagged additional time might be needed.

Mr Carter has yet to enter a plea to the criminal charges, which involve 19 counts of using deception to dishonestly obtain financial advantage.

Police alleged that Mr Carter used his position as a tax agent to commit wide-scale fraud amounting to $26 million for personal gain, using misappropriated funds to place over 50,000 individual bets.

The trial resumes on 3 November while the parties are expected to target the “real issues” in the civil matter with a court appearance scheduled for next March.

In prior Supreme Court hearings, Mr Carter alleged Sportsbet ignored his lack of funds and offered him inducements to continue gambling, including cross-country flights, VIP treatment, and corporate box seats at key events or headline races.

A video obtained by Nine late last month shows Mr Carter on a night out with Sportsbet CEO Barni Evans, which was allegedly one of many interactions Mr Evans had with “VIPs”.

Last week the TPB slapped a five-year ban on Mr Carter after finding he had breached five items of the tax agent code and was no longer a fit and proper person.

TPB chair Peter de Cure said Mr Carter, who is currently on bail pending the remainder of his trial, posed an unacceptable risk to the public.

“Mr Carter’s conduct was serious, fraudulent, and demonstrated dishonesty and deception. His actions undermined the integrity of the tax profession and caused detriment to his clients and the ATO.”

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