Corrupt Ipswich council boss jailed after ‘quick kickback’
FOUR crooks including a former Ipswich City Council chief executive have been jailed after elaborate scams involving kickbacks and bogus invoices.
Former CEO Carl Christian Wulff, his wife Sharon Oxenbridge, contractor Claude J Walker and former lobbyist Wayne Christopher Myers were involved in what a judge described as "corruption going to the heart of government".
They all pleaded guilty to official corruption, and Wulff also pleaded guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice.
On Friday, Chief Judge Kerry O'Brien said the scams involved bogus invoicing and fake consultancy work.
He said members of the corrupt group exploited their relationships and access to lucrative Ipswich City Council work to various degrees.
"Whoever initiated the agreement, all involved were willing participants," the Chief Judge told Brisbane District Court.
For corruption, Wulff was jailed for four and-a-half years, and for his attempt to pervert justice he got another six months.
The sentence will be suspended on August 20, 2020.
Walker was jailed for three years, to be suspended after nine months.
Oxenbridge was jailed for three years, to be suspended after nine months.
Myers was jailed for two and-a-half years, to be suspended after six months.
Myers embraced a female supporter as he was led out of the dock.
Walker embraced a female supporter and also handed her his watch before he slowly walked off into custody.
The Chief Judge said 64-year-old Myers "became friendly with Wulff" and through another man began to get "one-off jobs" with the council.
That other man - whose case is still before the courts - would funnel a share of profits from any council work.
Over about five months Myers was paid over $523,000. Money to Wulff was "disseminated" from those payments, Judge O'Brien said.
Wulff and Oxenbridge, 51, also involved themselves in a bogus consulting agreement with Oxenbridge's company known as Bojangles.
The judge said Oxenbridge signed invoices fully aware she would "not actually be providing any consultancy work".
The court heard about $115,000 was channelled in five separate payments from August 2013 to April 2014 "disguised through false invoices".
The Crime and Corruption Commission investigated Wulff, who tried to have Myers and Oxenbridge support him and lie about their activities.
"A level of coercion" influenced Oxenbridge's offending, the judge said.
The court heard financial difficulty motivated Wulff, who according to a psychiatrist "formed cognitive distortions regarding the permissibility" of the corrupt deals.
Wulff, now 66, was unlikely to reoffend, the mental health expert said. -NewsRegional