A 48-year-old man who charmed two women before defrauding them of almost $200,000 has been jailed for 2 1/2 years.
Terrence Joseph Tavelli was sentenced in the District Court yesterday after pleading guilty to four counts of fraud committed against two women in their 40s.
Tavelli had casual relationships with the women, the first in 2010 and the other in 2012, and gained their trust.
He lied to them about his marital and family status.
The former surveillance officer told the women he was able to provide them with private invitations to an investment scheme that would yield returns of between 5 per cent and 15 per cent.
One of the women had recently lost her husband and got his life insurance and superannuation payouts. Tavelli took $169,000 from that widow.
He used a Ponzi scheme to pay returns of 5 per cent to the women from the money they had already invested.
Tavelli told them the deposits he put in their bank accounts were dividends from their investments.
Tavelli's lawyer Terry Dobson told the court his client had a gambling addiction since his early 20s and had gambled all the money the women gave him.
When one of the women asked for her money back in March last year, Tavelli fled the country the next day and travelled to England, where he stayed for close to a year.
He returned to Australia in February this year and handed himself over to authorities.
Tavelli will be eligible for parole in 15 months.