So-called runaway millionaire Leo Gao will have Christmas
outside prison this year.
Gao, 33, stole $6.7 million after discovering $10 million in
his bank account due to a major bank error.
Instead of returning the money, Gao took off on an overseas
spending spree, splashing out at glitzy hotels and casinos.
Gao's then-partner, Kara Hurring, also joined him in Macau.
Eventually, the pair were caught out, and Gao - who had spent
two and a half years on the run - was sentenced to four years
and seven months in jail in August last year.
A decision from the Parole Board, released yesterday, found
the former petrol station owner was ready for parole and
would be out of prison on December 23.
His parole eligibility date is December 19,
The board, which is charged with assessing Gao's risk of
offending, said that despite the sizeable nature of his
fraud, they were satisfied his risk of offending could be
managed by imposing strict parole conditions.
While in prison, Gao was considered a low risk offender, the
Gao had also admitted his actions had caused great shame, had
broken the law and contradicted with his family's values.
When considering Gao's case, the Parole Board found he did
not pose an undue risk to the community, and therefore
refusing him parole once his eligibility date was reached
would be wrong.
They placed strict conditions on his release, including
restrictions on interactions with Ms Hurring and access to
Ms Hurring, who has a son with Gao, was sentenced to nine
months' home detention over her role in the theft.
Almost $3.8 million is still missing from the $10 million
transferred into Gao's bank account in April 2009.
Conditions on Leo Gao's release:
* Can contact Kara Hurring only with the prior approval of
his probation officer
* Banned from engaging in any business, employment work or
voluntary work unless approved by his probation officer
* Only able to operate a bank account approved by his
* Prohibited from any gambling premises
* Undertake counselling for gambling
* Live at an address approved by his probation officer
Source: Parole Board
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