CONVICTED Casino conman Paul Joseph McMahon may be behind bars, but that hasn’t stopped one of his long-time business associates from paying high-priced barristers to take his former wife to court.
Eva McMahon, who has dropped her married name and asked her maiden name not be published, has told The Northern Star that in 1994 her then-husband persuaded her to loan him about $100,000 she had inherited from her father.
Eva believes McMahon is now attempting to get back the $60,000 he has repaid, plus almost $34,500 in interest, through his business associate Bianca Brown.
But in a three-way claim on the $60,000, McMahon has also told the Child Support Agency the payments were for child support.
And in the month McMahon was jailed with a non-parole period of four years for a string of charges of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception and attempting to obtain a financial advantage by deception, Eva received a claim by Bianca Brown of Radiancy Pty Ltd informing her she owed the company $94,398.61 for a $60,000 loan it said it paid her.
“There was never a loan agreement,” Eva said. “Paul and I had agreed it was to pay off the debt on the loan.”
“I don’t even know a Bianca Brown.”
It is unclear who is funding the civil court case but since it was launched, Eva has been pitted against highly paid barristers.
Eva and McMahon separated in 1998 and divorced a year later, leaving Eva to raise their five children.
A property settlement reached in 1999 included a lump-sum payment of $600,000 and $1000 a week in child maintenance, in addition to repayment of the loan.
However, five days later McMahon suddenly declared bankruptcy, and as all of his assets were in company names there was nothing Eva could do to enforce the settlement.
It wasn’t until after numerous attempts by the Child Support Agency that McMahon paid a token $4147 for support in August 2003, despite having a $72,053 debt by March 2009.
So Eva said she was surprised and relieved when McMahon finally agreed to repay at least part of the 1994 loan – after all, she had been forced to sell her investment flat in her home town of Stockholm to raise the money.
“Four payments were made into my account,” Eva said. “The arrangements were made over the telephone between Paul and myself, however, the money was transferred from an account with the name Radiancy (Australia) Pty Ltd.”
“Paul told me that Radiancy was one of his companies.
“I did find it weird that a company was making the payments, but saw no reason to challenge it.”
Eva, who works as a teacher in Sydney, does not qualify for legal aid and has had to defend herself.
“I can’t understand why he is spending all this money on lawyers when he says he hasn’t got money to help pay for our oldest son to study medicine in Europe,” Eva said.
“He told me (in an email) he had just spent $17,000 on legal fees (to defend the fraud charges) last week and was spending another $17,000 this week. I just don’t know where he gets the money from.”
“That money would have covered the first two years of medical school of $16,000 a year.”
Eva said the last time she spoke to McMahon was in 2007 when, without any supporting documentation, she said Radiancy put a caveat over her Coffs Harbour house an hour before the sale was to go through.
To her dismay, Radiancy has now demanded compensation, claiming Eva has dragged out the case due to her legal inexperience.
Further clouding the case, Radiancy (Australia) was deregistered and the loan sold on to a series of newly registered companies, with the last company Radiancy Pty Ltd not even registered when Eva’s alleged debt was assigned to it.
Radiancy was deregistered in December.
Radiancy claims an agreement was made between Beauty Investments – formerly Radiancy (Australia) – to lend Eva $60,000 over two years at an interest rate of 12 per cent.
Ms Brown, who also uses the name Bianca Campbell, is the sole office holder and shareholder in Radiancy.
Other business people who have been stung by McMahon have told The Northern Star they know Ms Brown/Campbell.
“She was always hanging around McMahon,” said one.
A search of company registers show that McMahon and Ms Brown are well known to each other, serving as joint directors or similar roles in a number of companies.
Ms Brown has also been director or office holder on a string of companies alongside McMahon’s second wife Lyndsey Rawling.
In sentencing, Judge Robyn Tupman said McMahon’s modus operandi was to acquire dormant companies using false identities or identities of unsuspecting colleagues, then he or others under his direction would lodge false claims.
On Thursday the NSW Law Society decided to take on Eva’s case on a pro bono basis.
Despite repeated attempts Bianca Brown could not be contacted.