The former chief financial officer of ABC Learning Centres, James Black, has escaped a maximum possible penalty of a five year jail term and fines of up to $22,000, after being let-off with an 18 month suspended sentence and $2000 fine.
In one of the biggest corporate collapses in Australia's history the Queensland-based ASX-listed childcare provider ABC Learning went bust in November 2008, with creditors in four countries claiming a total of $2.7 billion.
Prosecutors dropped criminal charges against ABC Learning's high profile co-founder and chief executive Eddy Groves in 2012. No charges against other ABC Learning directors led to convictions.
Mr Black pleaded guilty to a charge, brought by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission of breaking the Corporations Act by being involved in providing false or misleading information to one of ABC Learning's auditors. Mr Black admitted lying to an auditor from Pitcher Partners about the related party transaction details of two offshore acquisitions made by ABC Learning in 2006.
The former CFO was sentenced in the Brisbane District Court on Tuesday.
The $2000 fine slapped against Mr Black pales in comparison to the value of the assets he earned working for the childcare giant.
Mr Black had a 20 year association with ABC Learning and was CFO from 2006 until April 2008. In the 2007 financial year alone he earned $786,000, almost all paid in cash.
The Courier Mail reported on Monday that land records indicate Mr Black has not owned property for 15 years but lives in a $1.8 million residence in the Brisbane suburb of Paddington owned by his wife, who has purchased another four properties costing $4.66 million since June 2000.