The former director of publicly-listed technology firm TZ Limited has been sentenced to ten years in jail after being found guilty of defrauding the company of nearly $9 million.
Andrew Sigalla was found guilty of 24 counts of dishonest conduct in November last year. He was sentenced on Friday with a non-parole period of six years.
The 51-year-old had used his position as chairman, director and chief executive to direct $8.6 million in funds from the company to himself or related entities.
The court heard that the funds were used to fund a gambling habit or to pay off a $10 million mortgage. The offences took place between December 2006 to March 2009.
During the trial, bookmakers Tom Waterhouse testified, saying Sigalla was “known by all the big bookmakers” as a “big punter”.
The Australian Securities and Investment Commission began investigating Sigalla in 2009 and in 2013, Sigalla was arrested after allegedly making 16 payments totalling $6.1 million from TZ accounts to pay for his own debts. He was charged with another eight accounts later that year.
Justice Adamson said the offending conduct demonstrated considerable deception, ingenuity, opportunism and greed over a two-year period.
“Private investment in public companies is a significant aspect of the market economy,” she said.
“If potential investors fear that the directors of public companies will misuse their positions to their own advantage, they will be loath to invest and the market will be deprived of capital which would otherwise have been available.”
TZ Limited is an ASX-listed smart lock technology company originally based in Sydney, but now headquartered in Chicago.