Queensland transport boss Edward Harold Pye disguised $550,000 as backpay for his teenage son.
Queensland transport boss Edward Harold Pye disguised $550,000 as backpay for his teenage son. Ross Irby

No jail for business owner who misappropriated $575k

A SOUTHEAST transport boss will spend no time in jail, despite misappropriating $575,000 from a Gatton company by disguising it as backpay for his 17-year-old son.

Edward Harold Pye was sentenced in Brisbane District Court on Monday after pleading guilty to two charges of breaching his duties while the sole director of ERH Transport Services Pty Ltd. 

Pye dishonestly used his position to transfer $575,000 of the company's funds to a trust benefiting himself and his son, the court heard.

The funds were transferred on two occasions with the lion's share - $550,000 - earmarked as back-pay for the teen.

This was despite the young man already receiving a much more modest income from the business.

Pye's son was not involved in any wrongdoing.

Pye took the money even though he knew the company was insolvent and that it had debts worth much more than the cash he took.

The offending happened in 2014 and about 15 months later Pye repaid the cash - plus an extra $25,000 - to the liquidator so the company's debts could be paid.

Judge Ian Dearden noted the dishonesty only came to light after Worrells Solvency and Forensic Accountants were appointed as liquidators of the business.

Worrells alerted the Australian Securities and Investment Commission to the misappropriation of ERH funds.

Pye was charged in mid-2018 with two counts of dishonestly using his position with the intention of directly or indirectly gaining an advantage for himself or someone else under section 184 of the Corporations Act.

"You were running the company and you could see the writing on the wall - so you transferred the money," Judge Dearden said.

Judge Dearden noted Pye was respected in the community, that he had the support of his family and was also suffering the impact of chronic health problems.

Pye was sentenced to two years in jail but released immediately and ordered to be of good behaviour for three years.

He will also pay a $2000 good behaviour bond.

Pye has lost his businesses and is now a bankrupt. - NewsRegional