Byron hypnotist jailed for fraud
By MEGAN LEVY, of the Illawarra Mercury
CELEBRITY hypnotist and former Ewingsdale resident Gary Spellman has been jailed for a maximum of seven years for masterminding a multi-million dollar fraud based in Wollongong. The 44-year-old remained composed as Judge Joseph Phelan sentenced him in Wollongong District Court. Spellman, pictured right, also known as Gary Hayman and Gary Kilpatrick, had pleaded guilty to 65 counts of fraud totalling $2,669,243. Detectives broke the syndicate in 2003, after tapping phone conversations between Spellman and a co-accused. The syndicate had used credit card numbers stolen from the National Australia Bank to buy thousands of dollars worth of luxury items, while forged documents were used to trick major financial organisations into lending more than $1 million. The syndicate's members bought Spellman's $1.5 million-dollar Ewingsdale home, as well as laptop computers, global positioning systems, mobile telephones, and household appliances via mail and phone order. The court heard that Spellman, who studied hypnotherapy and launched his own celebrity show, was one of the masterminds behind the syndicate. In telephone conversations intercepted by police, he had said: "'I'm a dream builder, I make things happen." On another occasion, after securing a loan, he had said: "I knew I'd get it, the wizard pulls it out of the bag again." The court heard Spellman, who was born and raised in Wollongong, had suffered from dyslexia at school and domestic violence at home. He had told a psychologist that because of his poor literacy skills, he was largely unaware of the documents he had signed to secure the loans. However, Judge Phelan said there were a 'number of aspects of the evidence that lead me to believe that he's more literate and more involved than he claims'. When police raided his Ewingsdale property, they found a list of the names of 44 doctors who were National Australia Bank customers throughout NSW. The list included their names, card numbers, card types and expiry dates. Judge Phelan said Spellman had a limited criminal record, had been of good character for most of his life and his prospects of rehabilitation were good. However, he said the impact of his fraud was serious and wide-ranging. "There were multiple victims; the prospect of them...being compensated for enormous losses is remote. The offence was part of a planned or organised criminal activity and extended over a period of time," he said. Spellman was sentenced to a maximum of seven years, to expire on April 1, 2011. He will be eligible for parole on October 1, 2008.