FORMER Billabong CEO Matthew Perrin has been jailed for eight years for forging his ex-wife’s signature to obtain a $13.5 million loan.
Perrin, 44, was last month found guilty by a jury of three counts of fraud and six of forgery after a week-long trial in Brisbane District Court. The trial had heard that in 2008 Perrin urgently needed credit from the Commonwealth Bank to fund his failing investments.
Perrin forged his then-wife Nicole Bricknell’s signature to secure a loan on their luxury Gold Coast home, which was solely in her name. He also forged the signature of his brother Fraser Perrin as witness on the document. The deception came undone in 2009 when Perrin made a dramatic confession at an emergency family meeting revealing he had “lost everything”.
“I’m going to jail, I’ve done a lot of bad things,” Perrin cried. The failed businessman also signed a six-page confession stating he had gone behind his wife’s back for years and tricked the bank.
Judge Julie Dick said on Friday that it was “inevitable” Perrin would be found guilty given the “considerable evidence” against him. She said Perrin’s offending struck at the heart of commercial integrity, and his good standing in the community and lack of criminal history were all the hallmarks of white-collar crime.
“You turned to these criminal activists to stay afloat,” Judge Dick said. Perrin, who was unresponsive during his sentencing, will be eligible for parole in late 2020.
The court heard the CBA remains about $9 million out of pocket as it has not been able to recover the house from Perrin as a result of his convictions.