The accountant proudly shook hands with a Penrith Panthers manager who announced a “partnership” with the club in a promotional video in late 2019. Carter’s company said it will provide financial advice to players and staff.
Behind the facade of success was a man with a “pathological” gambling problem involving betting giant Sportsbet, Carter’s lawyer Nick Hanna has said.
“Almost all the money ended up at Sportsbet without any attempt being made to transfer it through various accounts under its control – to launder it,” Hanna told Penrith Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.
“A significant portion of that money was (allegedly) from misappropriated funds, some are legitimate funds from his business, salary, dividends and loans.”
Court documents allege Carter filed tax returns for his clients and pocketed the refunds from the IRS. In other cases, the documents say, he told his clients they owed the tax office when they didn’t — he allegedly stole that money, too.
Among Carter’s victims is a potential investor in Drink West Brewery, which is partially owned by Cleary, Tuivasa and another UFC fighter, Tyson Pedro, according to police.
The court documents allege Carter was chief financial officer of Drink West and told an investor that he was buying $440,000 worth of stock on his behalf. Police claim that this money was stolen from Carter instead.
Drink West severed ties with Carter in July 2022, a spokesman said herald.
“Mr. Carter is not an officer or shareholder of Drink West or any of its affiliates and has not been for some time.”
Hanna told the court that Carter was accused of embezzling $26 million, but Sportsbet “loaned” him $20 million. This included the betting company offering to match the money Carter had wagered, dollar for dollar.
“Sportsbet was not a passive recipient, rather there are allegations that Sportsbet encouraged and incentivized its behavior,” the attorney said.
Carter is suing Sportsbet in federal court, Hanna added, claiming they ignored “red flag behavior” after reviewing him in 2021 and 2022.
Sportsbet gave Carter company treasury tickets, flew him to gambling events and paid for his accommodation, Hanna told the court, even after concerns were raised about his ability to lawfully fund his gambling.
Carter’s accounting firm went offline after investigators escorted him from his Silverdale home on Tuesday morning.
Hanna was outraged in court at the suggestion that Carter would flee Australia by turning to criminal networks. Carter’s mother offered her house as guarantor and Hanna said he never fled, even though he had long known about the investigation.
Carter’s 25-year-old receptionist and partner, Amy Steele, was arrested at a Penrith shop minutes after Carter’s arrest.
Social media has revealed that the couple are expecting a child together and just last month posted a gender reveal photo.
Investigators will claim Steele was trying to cover up Carter’s fraud.
Police searched both Carter’s home and business and confiscated electronics, hard drives and documents. They also found a small amount of what is believed to be two grams of cocaine.
Carter was charged with 16 felonies, including 14 counts of dishonestly obtaining financial gain through deception, knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime and possession of a prohibited drug.
He appeared on the video screen at Penrith Magistrates’ Court in a black hoodie on Wednesday morning as Hanna called for his release on bail.
The judge refused and Carter’s partner stood up and left the court in tears.
Steele was charged with reckless handling of crime proceeds exceeding $5,000 and was granted conditional bail because she is pregnant.
Steele will appear at Penrith Magistrates’ Court on July 27. Carter will return in September.
Our breaking news alert will notify you about important breaking news when they happen. Get it here.