Fallen Victorian racing identity Bill Vlahos has admitted to defrauding punters of almost $18 million across five years in a complex betting ring fraud.
The 54-year-old pleaded guilty in the County Court on Monday to two charges of obtaining financial advantage by deception between 2008 and 2013.
Vlahos was initially charged with more than 350 offences but prosecutors withdrew multiple counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception and one count of attempting to destroy documents to be used as evidence.
This meant a reduction in the amount of money he was accused of scamming from $120 million to $17,520,225.
More than 1000 people poured money into Vlahos’ syndicate with the promise of big returns.
The court heard the former BC3 Thoroughbreds chairman would supply gamblers with ‘bet sheets’ representing the horses upon which bets were placed, but put the money into his personal bank account instead.
The syndicate collapsed in December 2013 when punters wanted to cash out.
Prosecutors expect about 68 victims will provide statements to the court detailing the effect the scam has had on their lives.
Vlahos’s bail was extended until a two-day pre-sentence hearing starting on February 4 before Judge Douglas Trapnell.
His lawyer said his former high-flying client was now broke and did not have the means to be considered a flight risk.