Former Anglo American mining executive Glenn Tonkin.
Former Anglo American mining executive Glenn Tonkin. SUPPLIED/ABC

Mine boss was on $300,000 a year, now he's in prison

FAKE emails, false invoices and pretending to be other people paid handsomely for Glenn James Tonkin - for a while.

The senior manager used his position at Anglo American to steal more than $4.1m from the mining giant.

But a court heard Tonkin now lives in an overcrowded jail after losing his career and his marriage after the "sophisticated scheme" was uncovered.

Previously project director at Grosvenor Mine near Moranbah, Tonkin, now 53, also worked for Anglo American in Chile.

He pleaded guilty on Thursday to 10 counts of fraud - each for an amount over $30,000.

Entrusted with financial delegation for millions of dollars, he contrived invoices for work that was never performed.

"You personally benefited to a very significant extent," Judge David Reid said at Brisbane District Court.

"The scheme was effectively discontinued" when somebody at Anglo "smelled a rat", the judge added.

But Judge Reid said after the game was up, Tonkin paid back all the stolen money, making this a remarkable case.

It was previously reported Tonkin used bank accounts in the Caribbean and Hong Kong and Anglo was paying him an annual salary of more than $300,000.

Defence counsel Greg McGuire said when the scheme "all blew up" in October 2014, Tonkin's world fell apart and he "lost everything".

It was "extraordinarily embarrassing" for the family, and one of his daughters no longer spoke to him.

Tonkin hoped to live with his other daughter in Gatton once he finished his jail sentence, Mr McGuire said.

He had spent more than 17 months in custody in what Mr McGuire said were sometimes overcrowded conditions.

Prosecutor Mark Whitbread said Tonkin ran "a scheme where he arranged for companies that he had control of to submit false invoices".

The court heard that although Tonkin repaid $3.6m - effectively admitting guilt - he left it to the company to unravel the details of the fraud.

He refused to take part in a police interview, so Anglo conducted its own complex investigation.

Tonkin was arrested in June 2016 and never applied for bail.

After being convicted on his own pleas of guilty and asked if he had anything to say, Tonkin replied: "No thank you."

He was sentenced to seven years, six months jail but due to time served will be eligible for parole in March 2019. -NewsRegional