Accountant Scott Fleay told court the millions he received from a wealthy couple were gifts or loans

A trusted Perth accountant accused of stealing millions from one of his ‘fabulously rich’ clients to subsidize his upscale lifestyle testified that he was loaned money to buy property or had been given as a gift.

Scott Fleay, 52, was testifying in WA District Court where he was tried last week on 25 charges of theft over $ 4 million from immigrant Ghassan ‘Gus’ Jabado and his late wife Maria.

The court heard that Mr Fleay, a former Peppermint Grove County councilor, was the couple’s accountant when in 2006 they sold the chicken farm they had run for 31 years for $ 28 million.

Mr Jabado was from Lebanon while his wife was Italian, and the court was told the couple relied on the advice of their accountants as neither could write English very well. nor understand complex legal documents.

It is alleged that over the next five years, after receiving a continuing power of attorney over the Jabados’ finances, Fleay funneled money from their accounts to bank accounts controlled by him and used the funds for his own purposes.

This included helping Mr Fleay and his family buy two multi-million dollar properties in the upscale western suburb of Perth and a $ 80,000 car.

Gus Jabado and his wife started a chicken farm after arriving in Australia in 1969.(

ABC News: Cy Millington


In his testimony on Friday, Mr Fleay said that while his relationship with the Jabados had started as a professional, over the years it “faded” into what he described as “more personal in nature”.

He said Mr. Jabado would call him “my boy” and ask him for advice on business and property.

“I imagine I was like his personal assistant and he involved me more and more in his relationships,” he said.

‘Not the smartest thing I’ve done’

Mr. Fleay said he would receive “gifts” from the Jabados of up to $ 20,000 and estimated that between 2005 and 2010 he received between $ 200,000 and $ 300,000.

At the time, he was making about $ 300,000 a year from his work as an accountant.

Mr Fleay said it “didn’t seem to him to be a concern” as it was happening, but looking back he described it as “probably not the best thing to do”.

“It probably wasn’t the smartest thing I did,” he told the court.

WA District Court
The district court heard that the Jabados were born overseas and could not write English very well.(

ABC News: David Weber


Mr Fleay also detailed two $ 2 million “loans” he received from the Jabados to help buy two properties in the western suburbs – one in Peppermint Grove in 2007 and one in Cottesloe in 2008.

He said the first loan came after telling Jabado he was going to get a bridging loan from the bank.

He testified that Mr. Jabado said to him, “Why do you want to do this? Banks are a bunch of c ** ts”, before saying “Boy, we have the money, we can lend it to you and we are not out of his pocket “.

Mr. Fleay said he initially refused, but Mr. Jabado got agitated and said, “Isn’t our money good enough for you?”

They then discussed the loan with an interest rate of 6 percent, before drafting a “IOU” document, which Mr. Fleay said was kept by Mr. Jabado.

He said the second ‘loan’ in 2008 to buy the property in Cottesloe had been added to the document, although Mr Jabado told him he didn’t like the suburbs and couldn’t understand why he wanted to live there. .

The charges against Mr Fleay include allegations that he stole money from the Jabados that was supposedly donated to charities including Telethon and Silver Chain. However, in his testimony, he denied ever having done this.

The court heard the charges for the first time that emerged in late 2010, which the defense said was when Mr Jaabado discovered – after his wife’s death – that Mr Fleay had helped her gain access to the hospital. money from his account.

‘He tore and ate’ the evidence

Mr Fleay said Ms Jabado asked him to help him give money to her nephew, when her husband “absolutely hated” his family.

He said he would transfer funds from Ms Jabado’s account to his own account, then withdraw them and give her the money in an envelope when her husband was not around.

He told the court that each time she signed and dated a document he wrote that said, “I, Maria Jabado, asked Scott Fleay to take money for me without my knowledge. Gus Jabado “.

However, Mr Fleay said he could not now produce this document as evidence.

When asked why, he replied that it was because Mr. Jabado had “eaten” him.

He said that when he went to see Mr Jabado on Boxing Day 2010, he tried to produce the document but Mr Jabado accused him of fraud, claiming his wife would never have done so.

“He took it, tore it up and ate it,” he said.

Mr Fleay told the meeting that Mr Jabado’s voice was extremely loud and he described himself as “scared and scared”.

Man in dark glasses with dark curly hair wearing striped shirt and jacket walks along the street
Defense lawyer Simon Freitag SC says the charges against his client are a form of “reimbursement”.(

ABC News: Hugh Sando


He denies doing anything illegal, with his lawyer Simon Freitag SC claiming the lawsuit was a “refund” for his client “betraying” Mr. Jabado by going behind his back.

Mr. Freitag described the Jabados as “fabulously rich” and Mr. Fleay as “well-off”, but argued that there was “no fraudulent intent” on the part of his client in what he was doing.

The court heard that Mr. Fleay had returned all the money to Mr. Jabado plus interest.

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