Fraudster who stole $1.3M apologises for ruining lives

THE mastermind of an elaborate boiler room scam that "ruined lives" apologised to his victims before being jailed for nearly nine years.

Brian John Kelly ran a scam investment business, including fake websites and fake prospectuses that conned people, many of whom were retired, out of a total of $1.3 million.

Among the more than 30 victims of the boiler room scams was a Stanthorpe man who was convinced to give more than $70,000 to Kelly's operation after he was promised it would be invested.

Instead money was placed into the bank accounts of "cash mules" who withdrew the money and distributed to Kelly and his fellow scammers.

Kelly pleaded guilty in Brisbane District Court to fraud and money laundering.

Kelly admitted to personally receiving about $207,000 from the scam, but as the money was distributed in cash the court heard there was no way of knowing exactly how much Kelly himself obtained.

The court heard Kelly spent his share on drugs, trips to Sydney and Melbourne and Tiffany's and Louis Vuitton jewellery. About $300,000 has been returned to victims - but more than $1 million remains outstanding.

Kelly apologised to the court - but admitted he did not think his victims would accept anything he said.

"I've had two years to think about what's right. And honestly no words or explanation I have put on paper makes sense of this crime," he said.

"I've hurt numerous people through my actions. I've lost my life with my son ... but more importantly I've affected people's lives. And for that I'm deeply sorry."

Judge Anthony Rafter said Kelly's "sophisticated and elaborate" fraud had robbed people of their nest eggs and "ruined lives".

"The victim impact statements of 12 victims reveal the significant impacts of your callous, cunning and deceitful behaviour," he said.

Kelly was sentenced to eight years and seven months jail. He will be able to apply for parole after serving three years behind bars including the time served before sentence. - APN NEWSDESK