Damien Mantach admitted stealing the money from party coffers over four years. (Facebook)
Victorian Liberal ex-boss jailed for stealing $1.5m from party coffers
Former Victorian Liberal Party director stole $1.5M to save his marriage, court told
The father of jailed Liberal Party director Damien Mantach, who stole nearly $1.5 million from the organisation, has pleaded with the party to forgive his son’s debt, saying it would be “vindictive” to force him to repay the cash.
Damien Mantach was sentenced to five years in jail in 2016.
He had pleaded guilty to 15 charges of obtaining financial advantage by deception after he was caught stealing money from the party executive using fake invoices from 2010 until just after the 2014 election.
His father, Brian Mantach, has now written to the party to ask that it waive compensation owed to it because his son could not afford to pay.
The compensation order was originally for $882,108, but interest has pushed it up to $1,061,871, Brian Mantach says in the letter, seen by the ABC.
“Damien will emerge from prison with no money in the bank, no home, no car, no assets and with little prospect of future meaningful employment,” the letter says.
“He will live for a period with my wife Maggie and me and use one of our cars for transport.”
Once he has gained employment and found his own home, his ability to make repayments will be “almost non-existent”, the letter says.
“Given his inability to pay off the compensation order, any move by the Liberal Party for further actions such as a repayment plan or a garnishee of wages would be vindictive in nature, designed as a further punishment and be at odds with the intent of the order.”
Mantach is repaying debt in prison, father says
Damien Mantach generated 53 false invoices over four years, including to get funds through two of his own companies, Campaign Mail Logistics and Parkstreet Online Solutions, for research projects, logistical support and delivery of material that was never supplied.
But he told police he always expected to get caught and there was no control or oversight of invoices within the party.
More than $506,600 of the stolen funds was used to purchase shares. Another $81,859 was spent on a luxury car, $45,000 was used for home loan repayments and $535,085 was invested in a cafe for his wife at Ocean Grove, according to evidence heard in court.
The court heard his wife had no idea of the scam and his troubled marriage ended as soon as he was caught.
The ABC understands the Liberal Party has recovered about $300,000 from Damien Mantach.
Senior party sources say the Liberal Party’s administrative committee unanimously rejected Brian Mantach’s request.
Brian Mantach’s letter says his son is repaying his debt to society in prison.
“He should not be punished further by the crushing financial burden of the compensation order,” the letter says.
It says one of the options his son has is to return to court to try to overturn the payment order.
“There is case law in his favour. That however will be a costly and time-consuming exercise and while he has a strong argument to put to the court it is an action that he wishes to avoid.”
Brian Mantach declined to comment when contacted by the ABC.
Victorian Liberal Party president Michael Kroger also did not wish to comment.