Greg Willettt, the sports agent who cheated mates out of millions


Greg Willett, has a bit of shonky form on the board going back years

HE’S one of the country’s top sports agents, with NRL stars Braith Anasta, Luke Lewis and Craig Gower among his stable of stars.

But a Supreme Court judge has found Greg Willett cheated two of his off-field clients – one an old school friend, the other a quadriplegic – out of millions of dollars.

In a devastating judgment on Willett’s business dealings, Justice Michael Pembroke said he had been dishonest, misleading and deceptive.

Willett was yesterday ordered to pay the two men, diver John Sullivan and fisherman Clyde Thomas, a total of $3.6 million compensation plus compounding interest, which is expected to increase the amount to over $8 million.

He must also pay the entire legal bill for the five-week civil trial, estimated to be at least another $1 million.

The court heard that Willett’s assets, including real estate, were held in his wife Debra’s name. She recently sold their $4 million Burraneer waterfront mansion near Cronulla, with “hundreds of thousands of dollars” going towards their own legal bills.

Willett, 59, is considering appealing against the judgment.

Justice Pembroke said that his actions were a case of subterfuge and double dealing.

The saga began after Mr Thomas, 57, received $5 million compensation for a 1989 car crash that left him a quadriplegic. He had grown up with Mr Sullivan, 58, and Willett in Cronulla and he and Mr Sullivan had worked as deep sea divers on oil rigs around the world.

The two men were close friends and Willett, an accountant, did Mr Sullivan’s tax returns.

While Mr Sullivan trusted him and even went to his wedding, Willett privately regarded him with disdain, the judge said.

“Sul is nothing but a dumb arse diver. He’s got brain damage from diving,” Willett allegedly said in front of his former secretary, who recounted the statement in court.

In 1998 Willett set up a company Softsand Design Investments Pty Ltd (SSDI) for Mr Thomas and Mr Sullivan’s investments. It soon bought five Cronulla properties with Mr Thomas’ money.

Two years later the company invested about $2 million in sporting, surfing and skateboarding clothing company SMP, which sponsored some of Willett’s rugby league clients.

Willett predicted that it would become as big as Billabong.

But he did not tell Mr Thomas and Mr Sullivan he owned half of SSDI, using it to pay personal expenses for himself and his wife and its bank account for deposits and payments to some of his clients, while asking Mr Thomas and Mr Sullivan to pay off overdrafts.

“Mr Thomas and Mr Sullivan were neither financially astute nor well educated and have now lost their monies,” Justice Pembroke said.

“To persons like [them], Mr Willett would have exhibited all of the superficial trappings of material success.

“[He] sought to take advantage of them for his own benefit.” He rejected Willett’s argument that he had no fiduciary duty to the two men, saying: “He took advantage of them and abused their trust and confidence. His conduct was duplicitous.”

A Gallery of some of the players and friends he has cheated

Check this article out from 2005 from the Sydney Morning Herald….reaks of shady character, nothing has changed

Players in hot pursuit of their agent of misfortune

September 17, 2005

He boasted he sealed his deals with a handshake, but some of Greg Willett’s clients are demanding: show me my money. Jacquelin Magnay and Kate McClymont investigate.

One of the National Rugby League‘s leading player agents, Greg Willett, asked business associates to lie to the National Crime Authority to protect his client, an organised crime figure who was under investigation for money laundering.

On top of that, he has had complaints about him referred to the Department of Fair Trading and is being questioned by the league stars Willie Mason and Greg Bird for an explanation as to where their money has gone.

Willett claims to be the star witness for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission in an inquiry into the former Bulldogs chief Gary McIntyre. The Herald has also obtained documents showing Willett’s Cronulla accountancy firm has set up offshore bank accounts for prominent clients.

Willett, 53, has a complex web of clients, including two prominent footballers, Craig Gower and Braith Anasta, and is the accountant to many others, including the former league player Phil Blake and Cronulla’s chief executive Steve Rogers, whom he played alongside in the Cronulla first-grade team in the 1970s.

In an interview with BRW Willett said of his management style: “I don’t even sign them to an agreement. Everything is done on a handshake.” But his informal approach to business has ruptured friendships and is causing angst in the football world.

John Sullivan, a commercial diver, and Clyde Thomas, a fisherman, were childhood mates of Willett. Thomas and Willett met at Woolooware Primary School. Years later, when Thomas became a quadriplegic as a result of a car accident, he turned to Willett to manage his multi-million-dollar compensation payout.

Thomas told the Herald that as well as investing his money in a property development company set up by Willett, in 1998 Willett persuaded him to lend $100,000 at 10 per cent interest to one of Willett’s clients. By 2002 neither the money nor the interest had been repaid.

In April of that year the crime authority was investigating Willett’s client over allegations he had been laundering drug money. Willett was called in to answer questions about the financial dealings of his client and his client’s wife.

According to Sullivan, after Willett had been interviewed by the authority, he instructed his partners to say the crime figure’s wife was on the company’s payroll. “It was a lie,” Sullivan said.

Asked to lie to the crime authority about the payments, Thomas claims he said to Willett, “Listen, I don’t know who your f—ing shonky mates are … I just want my money back.”

Thomas was not questioned by the authority. He is pursuing the crime figure over the missing funds. Thomas also claims to have lost the bulk of his payout in Willett’s investments, as has a Sydney media identity who says he lost $1.1 million in business dealings with Willett.

Willett said that until he was questioned by the crime authority, he was unaware his client “sold drugs”. Willett denied he told his former partners to lie and said he paid the crime figure’s wife $5000 a month to drive footballers around.

He says Sullivan is a disgruntled former friend who has waged a five-year battle against him. “He has made my life a living hell.”

Willett has also been caught up in a current securities and investments commission inquiry into a $200,000 payment his client Anasta received from a company connected to the ill-fated Oasis development. In 2002 the Bulldogs were stripped of their competition points after the Herald revealed they had breached a salary cap.

Willett has told securities and investments commission investigators that the money to Anasta was to play football and not to promote Oasis. However, Willett has previously stated that because other companies such as Kellogg’s and Nike were vying for Anasta’s services, “I told Canterbury: ‘If these other companies are paying for his services, you can pay him $200,000 for promotional work’.”

The Herald has obtained a letter sent from Willett to McIntyre in January 2002 that reads: “Re The Braith Anasta Contract.” The letter then sets out Anasta’s four-year contract, which starts off at $250,000 in 2002 and by 2005 was to have reached $350,000.

Crucially, the letter goes on to say, “An additional $200,000 is required up front on signing. This is to be made out to Softsand Design P/L [one of Willett’s companies] for $200,000 plus GST. This amount is reduce the four-year contract by $50,000.” There is no mention of Oasis promotions. Willett said yesterday that McIntyre initially rejected a request for an upfront $200,000 payment to buy Anasta a property because of fringe benefits tax liabilities the club would face, but McIntyre then agreed to the upfront deal.

“I don’t ask where the money is from,” Willett said yesterday.

The Herald has also obtained documents that show Willett’s firm has set up offshore bank accounts with credit card access so that clients could withdraw funds back in Australia. Two well-known Cronulla businessmen had accounts set up for them with the Standard Chartered Bank in Malaysia. “Here are the card numbers and signatures giving permission to activate the abovenamed accounts,” reads the letter from Willett’s office.

Willett told the Herald he had flown two lots of clients to Kuala Lumpur because “it was going to be a tax haven, and everyone put in five grand each”. But Willett said while the accounts were opened, no one ever used them.

The tax office said recently that it was investigating the use of offshore credit and debit cards as a vehicle for tax avoidance.

The Bulldogs player Willie Mason is concerned about the whereabouts of his funds from his 2004 tax return. Willett originally used $17,000 of Mason’s money, with other league players’ monies, as a deposit on a $5.25 million industrial site at Taren Point, which was later terminated.

This development was one of the projects of a local developer, James Bezzina. Willett is not only a great friend of Bezzina, but is the accountant of four of Bezzina’s troubled companies.

Bezzina (not to be confused with his cousin Michael Bezzina, also a property developer) is in financial strife, and 10 days ago liquidators were appointed to the JLB Group. Much to the consternation of several rugby league players, Willett had been tipping them into Bezzina projects.

Willett has reassured Mason the tax return has gone from the Bezzina project into another client’s project and his money would be available on September 30.

Macquarie Bank is pursuing Bezzina’s JLB Group and him personally for millions of dollars over the failed $60 million Mill project in Marrickville. Bezzina’s JLB also owes Cronulla Sharks $250,000, Penrith Panthers $220,000 and Manly Sea Eagles $25,000.

Bezzina also developed a large Dee Why apartment block, almost complete. Because of Bezzina’s current difficulties and the slump in real estate values, the league players Sonny Bill Williams, Chris Walker and Greg Bird pulled out of this development last month.

Bird and his manager have been chasing Willett to return Bird’s $24,000 deposit. “I thought I had given it to Reg Gibson [Willett’s solicitor] but it was sitting there in trust, rolling over until he needed it,” Willett said yesterday. Bird’s money would be available next week, he said.

The NSW Department of Fair Trading previously investigated Willett over receiving commissions and accepting deposit monies from footballers in relation to another Bezzina JLB development at Cronulla. Only licensed real estate agents are able to do this.

Willett’s football clients Anasta, Phil Blake, Luke Branighan and the rugby union player Manuel Edmonds bought into the development, which overlooks Woolooware golf course, in 2001.

A party connected to the property deal complained to the department about Willett’s receiving the deposits. Willett said he had told his clients he had billed Bezzina $10,000 for accountancy work and his clients were happy with that. “I don’t take secret commissions,” Willett said.

The complainant has been told there can be no further investigation because none of the footballers wanted to complain.

Meanwhile, the Panthers’ Craig Gower has had a rocky relationship with Willett since the Herald revealed to him he was a director of Bezzina’s company JLB Developments – now in liquidation.

Willett told Gower it was a mistake made by Bezzina. Securities and investments commission documents show Gower’s name was removed from JLB Developments. And while Bezzina was removed as a director of Gower’s company last month, the troubled property developer remains a shareholder in it.

12 thoughts on “Greg Willettt, the sports agent who cheated mates out of millions

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Greg Willettt, the sports agent who cheated mates out of millions « Aussie Criminals and Crooks -- Topsy.com

  2. OOHHHH, poor,poor Mr Sullivan and his quadriplegic friend. So innocent,naive and uneducated. Such victims. Are you kidding? John is a convicted drug addict and murderer. He was paid off by a Rugby League identity in the 80’s after stalking him in the same manner. It’s a travesty a hard working family man can have his reputation dragged to the gutter by a conniving pair who don’t have a sole in the world who love them. Pathetic journalism by a writer trying to make a name by sensationalising a story for her own gain!

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    • Hi Billy thanks for popping in, I gather you feel Willett has had his reputation tarnished by these 2 blokes? What about the dozens of others he has taken for a ride, ripped off or dudded?

      Hard working maybe, but it seems he has forgotten who he was working for, and with whose money to me!

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      • Ripped off whom? Did they mention neither of them have worked in the last 25 years? That Sullivan ripped Greg off for millions already? That Sullivan and Thomas stripped the company of assets as confirmed in court case already!The fact Sullivan paid
        off witnesses in the case to substanstiate his story What about Ingrid Rogers(just one of her names) who neglected to mention to police about Steve’s suicide note. And Trish Lidelow, an alcoholic and ex heroin addict. Both these women supported Sullivan.Greg Willett has never been charged and these accusations are purely farsical

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  3. Billyjane it is good to see that the time honoured tradition of spouting utter crap and trying to assert – unsucccessfully – it’s the God’s honest truth is alive and kicking at your house. For the record making outrageous claims in blogs and forums doesn’t make you a legend except perhaps in your own tiny little mind.

    Let’s deal with some of the issues you raise and the facts of the matter. You ask “Ripped off whom?”. I know it’s an incredibly challenging endeavour to actually read the judgment but it’s clear who was ripped off – Thomas and Sullivan. This isn’t the opinion of your mate Duncan down the pub who you suck down way too many schooners, with it is the decision of a judge of the Supreme Court. You might have a different view based on the moon being in the seventh house and Jupiter aligning with Mars – or more likely drivel spoon fed to you a certain tax agent – but sadly for you the judicial system has a somewhat different view.

    I have to agree with you about the recalcitrant ways of Mr Thomas. Imagine having the temerity of using the fact of being in a wheelchair as an excuse to not work. He of course should be out there digging ditches and laying bricks like a good honest Aussie worker and not let the trifling matter of his quadraplegia interfere with him doing his bit for the economy. Do you mind if I ask at this stage what planet you are from? The only thing missing from your version of events is the opening line “Once upon a time in a shire far far away…”

    So Sullivan is a convicted murderer is he? Well then it should be just a piece of piss for you to let this forum know who it was he is convicted of murdering, when was the trial was held and where Sullivan served his sentence. Or did he conveniently have a “Get Out Of Gaol Free” card that allowed him to roam the streets unimpeded and, according to you, unemployed for the last 25 years. A “convicted drug addict”? Mate for your information drug addiction is NOT a crime. Drug possesssion or dealing may be, but drug ADDICTION is not.

    I am intrigued as to how you have such in depth knowledge of Steve Rogers’ suicide note. Were you his faithful scribe writing it all down as he dictated it to you? Did you perhaps pop by to borrow a cup of sugar and had a good old read of the note while Steve sadly expired. Or is it just slightly more likely that you wouldn’t have the first idea what was or wasn’t in any suicide note and being a man of high moral fibre you are using the tragic death of human being as a punchline for a very sick joke.

    You must have been reading about a different court case to the one I am referring to because nowhere in transcript of the recent Supreme Court case is there any reference to Thomas and/or Sullivan having “stripped assets from the company”. How exactly did Sullivan – a man Willett employed as a “gofer” and who he regarded as “a dumb arse diver with brain damage from diving” – have the nous and skills to rip of a man who ran a flourishing accountacy and tax agent practice and was a manager to numerous high profile sports people. Obviously Sullivan is an evil genius who duped the Supreme Court with acting skills that would put Russell Crowe to shame.

    How about instead of your elaborately concocted fiction we accept some of facts of the case. Facts by the way which aren’t in dispute, Mr Thomas sought to prudently invest money that he had received as a result of his motor vehicle accident. Not only had he had to battle to receive his due compensation but at that time he also was having to cope with a daughter suffering with epilepsy and a wife with an incurable brain tumour. He was at a low ebb and trying to do the best for his family.

    Willett presented himself as guardian angel telling him on numerous occassions “I can help. You will be safe with me. I will look after you”. Exactly the comforting and reassurring words a man in his situation wanted, indeed NEEDED, to hear. Willett was hard working alright. He worked hard to extract money from Thomas and Sullivan for “investments” in which Willett himself had contributed next to nothing. Willett “worked hard” to give himself 50% of a company which was overwhelmingly funded by Mr Thomas. He also seems to have “worked hard” to ensure that, notwithstanding he is by far the major breadwinner in the Willett household, next to none of the major assets are in his name. Qantas must be paying their “customer service representatives” exceptionally good money for Mrs Willett to have the vast portfolio of properties she has in her name. Surely “Honest Greg Willett” wouldn’t have put assets in her name to avoid inconvenient things like tax and pending court decisions?

    Billyjane one final question for you. What did Honest Greg pay you to write this not particularly well written and only semi grammatical fairytale?

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  4. “Truth, Justice & The Australian Way” I have to say what a great read, and thank you for giving us an insight into this intriguing case. Obviously there is much more to it than what we, the public know, but I love a good debate so lets hope the questions you pose get answered on here.

    Cheers Rob

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    • Hi Robbo

      Thanks for your kind comments. Glad you enjoyed it. I too hope that Billyjane can enlighten us with some facts to support his assertions, some of which are out there in the third ring of Saturn. I won’t however be holding my breath as I think a response – let alone a well thought out or heaven forbid factual one – is like a premiership for the Cronulla Sharks. It might be coming but no time soon. Cheers mate.

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  5. HI ROBBO I WISH TO REPLY TO BILLY JANE FOR THE SLANDEROUS STATEMENT ABOUT MY LATE HUSBAND STEVE ROGERS AND MYSELF.

    Billy Jane considering I have known both Deb & Greg Willett for over 28 years and was their close friend as was my late husband Steve. It is funny that you seem to know us up close and personal to make such a bold and very close statement. I have never heard of you OR have I. I think there is a very nasty vindictive person desperatley trying to save face and hiding behind the name BILLY JANE and in fact I feel this is not your real name. With the discusting statement you have just lowered yourself to, I can see why you had to make up this name, as you know this sort of LOW behaviour makes you a little more than a bottom dweller.

    This is the work of a desperate person scrapping the lower reaches of the barrell to not even realise bringing up such a hurtful time as some ones death and trying to take away Steve’s dignity and privacy with his family and claiming he wrote a suicide letter and that I hid it from the police all to try to deliberatly discredit other people in a desperate bid to make them self look better because of their guilty verdict in the supreme court is a disgrace. How low do you need to stoop DO YOU REALLY THINK THIS SORT OF SLANDER USING SOME ONES DEATH IS GOING TO EARN YOU BROWNIE POINTS ? Have you lot gone mad.

    As you have put this false statement in writing for the world to read. I ask you to now prove it and back it up. I challenge you to bring that mouth of yours with me down to the detectives at Miranda Police that handled Steve’s death and back up what you have just slandered over the internet. Happy to sit down with the police and you BILLY JANE or should it be SILLY JANE

    THE FACTS I WILL GIVE YOU A BIT OF A TIP
    1. I was intersate and not at home when Steve died. In the house was the police and the ambulance officers.
    2. The police had full access to the house before anyone else and secured it with no one allowed to entere including myself while the investigation continued for over 24 hours . How could I have magically hid it from police when I had no access from the time I arrived back in Sydney.
    3. Later that day in another place Matt and I were interviewed by the police and handed personal things belonging to Steve. These things you have said are very hurtful to his family and those that cared for him.
    4. The police have everything BUT BILLY JANE say’s different.
    5. Did you even think to check the coroners report before you shot your mouth off. The coroner who I think knows a bit more than you BILLY did not say suicide was the cause of death.

    LIKE I SAID LETS GO BRING THAT ALLEGATION OF YOUR’S TO THE POLICE AND WHEN YOU ARE FOUND TO BE WRONG DO YOU THINK BILLY YOU ARE EVEN CAPABLE OF THE APOLOGY WHICH IS WELL DUE HERE.

    STATEMENT No 2 ( One of her many names ) Since when has it been a criminal offence to re-marry and take on another name ? OR are you trying to make out I work under cover for the C.I.A. Get out the cat claws This is childish rubbish

    STATEMENT No 3 I have been paid off by the other side. BILLY you watch too many movies. I was summoed to court to simply tell the court how I came to purchase a development site in Marlo Road Cronulla. Who sold it to me and how I paid for it. JUST THE TRUTH PURE AND SIMPLE no dirt, no mud raking no nothing. JUST THE TRUTH. It was no rocket science. If Greg Willett did not have a lapse of memory I WOULD NOT HAVE EVEN BEEN REQUIRED TO DO THAT. BILLY It is not my fault that after a five week supreme court hearing the judge did not rule in favour of the Willetts and in fact he had some very colourful criticisim. I am very diapointed that due to this verdict they feel it necessary to try and shift the blame and try to assinate the character of others.

    IN CONCLUSION BILLY HOW DARE YOU CONDUCT CHARACTER ASSINATIONS UPON PEOPLE WHO DO NOT DESERVE IT.

    Ingrid

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  6. If Billy Jane had planned to lift his or her ugly melon on this forum – which I had doubted from the get go – I think the comprehensive rollicking given by Ingrid Rogers (above) has pretty much ensured that he or she has crawled even deeper into the hole from whence they came.

    Firstly let me give a hearty bravo to Ms Rogers for coming to this forum and setting matters straight. It cannot have been easy to have read the hurtful comments posted by Billy Jane. These undoubtedly must have caused her a great deal of upset and emotional turmoil. It would have been the path of least resistance for her to have said nothing and treated the bile spewed by Billy Jane as being in the “I wont dignify this with a comment” category.

    Instead she has very bravely, in my view, put out herself and details of what must have been a truly heartbreaking time in her life in the interests of setting the record straight. This is a very courageous action. All too often ill informed numb nuts like Billy Jane will post spurious crap in blogs and forums. They do so in the belief that they will never be called to account for the patent bullshit they have peddled. It is both the beauty and the danger of the internet that these slurs then are out there for the world to see. While most people will read them and see through the lies and innuendos there, sadly, are some who will take these words as being true. It is important then to nip these things in the bud with a very simple weapon – the truth. I salute Ms Rogers for her poise and dignity and for her courage in bringing the kind of venomous pissant that Billy Jane is to account.

    I don’t think Ingrid will be holding her breath waiting for Billy Jane to accompany her to to police with the “amazing revelations” that good old BJ – (a somehow apt abbreviation) – would have us believe they are privy to. Billy Jane has proven to have all the integrity of a wet tissue in a hurricane so even appearing in this forum again let alone appearing in public seems an unlikely prospect. While an apology to Ms Rogers – and indeed to the other people whose reputations Billy Jane impugned in his or her earlier diatribe – is well deserved I doubt it will be forthcoming. She at least can hold her head high in public and not scurry around like an anonymous cockroach like you Billy Jane.

    We are all awaiting with baited breath Billy Jane for you to come forward with the details of the murder conviction of the redoubtable Mr Sullivan you alluded to in your earlier post. This will happen I assume at roughly the same date as the major banks announcing they are scraping all bank fees, the leaders of the major political parties acknowledging their opponents might just have a valid point and the RTA concluding that revenue from speed cameras is unfairly incurred i.e about the 12th of Never.

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    • Here Here, I thought the very same thing when Ms Rogers wrote her comment and I did not feel qualified to make a comment as an outsider, but once again a great reply by you and I would like to see “Billy Jane” who has submitted a few comments under different email addresses return and answer with some facts…cheers

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      • Hi Robbo

        Thanks again for your kind words re post – muchos gracias. I would suggest that Billyjane shares a relationship with the facts much like the one I share with Angelina Jolie i.e very fleeting, from a significant difference and largely illusory.

        If he or she returns to this forum in any way, shape or form I will be gobsmacked. For mine I don’t particularly care if he or she responds to my questions because I know the facts of the matter. I’d suggest Messrs Thomas and Sullivan probably aren’t losing sleep over his or her drivel either. I would say that an apology to Ingrid Rogers – and indeed Trish Liddlelow whose reputation was also viciously impugned by this cockroach – is more than due but sadly wont be forthcoming.

        Keep up the good work Robbo. Your website is informative – and entertaining – to the max!

        kind regards

        TJ&TAW

        Like

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