An IT manager who held roles at the University of Newcastle, the University of Sydney and Macquarie University is set to serve at least 12 months behind bars for fraud offences.
Brett Roberts held senior IT positions at the University of Newcastle from 2006 to 2007, Sydney University in 2010 and 2011 and Macquarie from 2012 to 2013.
Roberts was the subject of an inquiry by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption. ICAC found that Roberts had conspired with Christopher Killalea to defraud universities through a scheme involving false invoices.
The pair pleaded guilty to charges arising from the inquiry.
On July 31 Roberts was sentenced to 14 months’ jail with a non-parole period of 12 months for dishonestly obtaining a benefit by deception, and 17 months’ jail with a non-parole of period of 12 months for giving false or misleading evidence to ICAC.
Roberts has appealed the severity of the sentence. That appeal will be heard in September.
For his role in the scheme, Killalea was given a five-year good behaviour bond and fined $4500.
ICAC found that Roberts had engaged in a corrupt scheme involving a private IT consultancy owned by Killalea named Management and Professional Services Pty Ltd (MAPS).
The ICAC inquiry was sparked by a complaint to the anti-corruption body by Killalea.
In November 2006, while employed by the University of Newcastle, Roberts authorised the payment of MAPS invoices worth $27,750 for work that was not done, ICAC found.
ICAC’s report of its inquiry said that in December 2010 Roberts certified payment by the University of Sydney for nine fraudulent invoices worth $43,065, and in December 2012 “engaged in corrupt conduct by dishonestly exercising his public official functions by raising and signing a recommendation-for-purchase form for the purpose of authorising a MAPS invoice for $32,450, paid by Macquarie University into a MAPS bank account,” for work that was not done.
The ICAC report said that Roberts had also authorised payment of $10,450 by Macquarie University to another company, iPath Pty Ltd, for work that wasn’t done. While working at Macquarie Uni, Roberts “used MAPS to dishonestly obtain money from the university through another company called iPath Pty Ltd,” ICAC said in its report.
Roberts in May 2013 submitted three false MAPS invoices, each for $32,450, to Macquarie Uni, ICAC’s report added.
In addition, ICAC issued a finding that between May and June 2013, Roberts had created and signed a false licensing agreement and created false emails “to falsely represent that MAPS had done work for Macquarie University.”