William (Bill) Jordanou leaves Melbourne Magistrates' Court.
William (Bill) Jordanou leaves Melbourne Magistrates' Court.

Ex-poker player’s ‘breathtaking’ $58m fraud

A FORMER professional poker player will spend at least nine years in a Victorian jail after scamming the Commonwealth Bank of nearly $58 million in a fraud of "breathtaking proportions".

William Jordanou, 60, was slammed by County Court of Victoria Judge Paul Lacava on Thursday for causing delay in the proceedings with a "frankly embarrassing" cross-examination, leading to "a complete waste of the court's time".

Jordanou finally pleaded guilty to two charges of conspiracy to defraud in February this year after fraudulently obtaining $58 million from the Commonwealth Bank in loans using false documents between 2010 and 2014.

He also scammed $18 million out of Westpac, Bank of Queensland, La Trobe Financial Services, Rhino Money and Mercedes-Benz Financial Services using the same "modus operandi".

The court was told Jordanou, along with accountants Robert Zaia and Scott Arthur, falsified documents to the Commonwealth Bank "for the purpose of obtaining 23 separate loans on behalf of clients", with plans to share in the profits.

"By this means, you fraudulently obtained nearly $58 million from the CBA, making this one of the largest frauds to come before a court in this state," Judge Lacava said.

"The actual loss to the CBA is said to be approximately $21.8 million … the prosecution has been unable to calculate the amount of gain that you received from this offending."

Zaia and Arthur have pleaded guilty to similar charges, with Arthur sentenced to at least four years in jail, and Zaia yet to be sentenced.

"The CBA conspiracy was a prolonged fraud of breathtaking proportions," Judge Lacava said.


Mr Jordanou’s fraud was described as ‘breathtaking’
Mr Jordanou’s fraud was described as ‘breathtaking’


"The level of falsifications and some of the documentation supplied to the CBA was high and the action of giving it to the bank audacious."

Judge Lacava said the bank did not exercise due diligence and placed a high level of trust in a mobile lender named Epps, who had since died.

"It was a true conspiracy, a meeting of minds."

He said Jordanou finally pleaded guilty to conspiracy four years after he was charged, just before the matter was to proceed to trial.

"This is an extremely strong prosecution case, and you refused to face the reality you would eventually go to jail until confronted with the fact of the trial proceeding."

Jordanou was sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment with a non-parole period of nine years.

He has already served 198 days in pre-sentence detention.