Conman Foster Loses Sentence Appeal

May 7, 2008


Convicted conman Peter Foster has lost a Supreme Court challenge to his four-and-a-half-year jail term.

In a decision handed down this morning, the full bench of the Supreme Court of Appeal in Brisbane ruled the Gold Coast fruadster had no claim to a lighter sentence despite argument from his legal team that errors had been made in his original case.

Foster was jailed in December after pleading guilty to money laundering charges steming from a scam involving the rip-off of more than $300,000 from the Bank of the Federated States of Micronesia.

He obtained the money under the guise of a business loan to fund the development of a luxury resort off the coast of Fiji. Instead, he transferred the money to Australia - some of it in a suitcase stuffed with cash - and used it to pay off his credit card, family debts and the rent on his girlfriend's Gold Coast home.

Lawyers challenged the severity of the fourand- a-half-year sentence, arguing that the sentencing judge had given too much weight to the fraud aspect of his crime, instead of money laundering, for which he had been charged. They also questioned the power of Australian authorities to force him to repay more than $200,000 that has yet to be recovered.

An appeal hearing last month was told too much emphasis had been placed on Foster's previous history of dodgy dealings, which had "inflated" the gravity of the scam.

However, the arguments were dismissed in a unanimous appeal judgment handed down this morning.

The court was told last month Foster still faced the possibility of being extradited to Micronesia once he was released from prison in Australia, however there was no suggestion authorities overseas were planning such a move.