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26 August 2014

Former Sydney Ferries boss and navy rear admiral jailed for $200,000 fraud

Rear admiral Geoffrey Smith

Geoffrey Smith, former deputy chief of the Australian navy, given 18 month sentence for using his Sydney Ferries CEO credit card to fund lavish lifestyle

Former deputy chief of the Australian navy Geoffrey Smith has been jailed for at least 18 months after defrauding Sydney Ferries of more than $200,000.

Family members of the retired rear admiral, who went on to become chief executive of the NSW government ferry corporation, wept in court as he was sentenced to prison on Monday.

Sydney district court heard Smith was hired to help turn the troubled public transport corporation around in August 2006 but soon began using his CEO credit card for personal expenses.

From September 2006 to May 2008 he defrauded Sydney Ferries of more than $128,000.

He eventually paid back all but $23 of this but then went on to steal a further $111,649.

This was spent on funding a lavish lifestyle, which included expensive family holidays and repayments on a Sydney home valued at more than $2m.

In handing down his decision, Judge Michael Finnane said that up until this point in Smith’s career he was a man of “exemplary good character”.

At the time of his retirement from the navy in 2002 he was maritime commander of the Australian fleet, had won a number of military decorations and had been made an officer of the Order of Australia.

“In every sense it is a tragedy that such a distinguished man should find himself facing sentence for fraud offences.”