A con artist who claimed to be in partnership with two of the world’s biggest tech companies and promised free internet to customers has been sentenced.
A con artist who claimed to be in partnership with two of the world’s biggest tech companies and promised free internet to customers has been sentenced.

‘Free internet’ con artist cops six years

A Queensland con artist who claimed to be in partnership with Google and Motorola has been sentenced to six years' jail.

Jonathan William Parker, of Logan, pleaded guilty to fraud charges over a failed IT venture that promised free internet.

The charges followed an Australian Securities and Investments Commission investigation into Parker's conduct while a director of the company Freenet between 2011 and 2012.

Jonathan Parker
Jonathan Parker

During his tenure he created false invoices to conceal taking more than $800, 000 from the company's coffers. The money was used for personal uses including a $15,400 transfer to a dance company operated by his mother.

He also obtained $140,000 from an investor under the proviso it would be to buy equipment for Freenet. Despite gaining board approval no equipment was ever purchased.

Instead the money was used to settle a legal dispute with a disgruntled investor from another company Parker had started.

Parker launched Freenet in 2011 with the idea of providing free internet to shoppers at places like supermarkets. The service would be subsidised by advertisers.

In setting up the company he raised nearly $3 million in private share sales to investors.

Despite claims of a partnership with Google and Motorola, Freenet never got off the ground and eventually collapsed.

The court heard the liquidator concluded Parker's misappropriation of company funds led to its failure.

Justice Craig Chowdery today said Parker, 35, was clearly intelligent but could not use "unlawful means" to pursue his business career.

He sentenced Parker to six years jail setting a non parole period of 16 months in light of his mental health problems and hardship his incarceration would have on his family.

Parker, who was self-represented, was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.



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