Andrew Young is the last of three directors from the whitegoods empire to be found guilty of fraud and insolvent trading.
Andrew Young is the last of three directors from the whitegoods empire to be found guilty of fraud and insolvent trading. File

'By hook or by crook': Young jailed over Kleenmaid scandal

FORMER Kleenmaid director Andrew Young has been sentenced to nine years' jail, after an exhaustive legal saga lasting eight years.

The Sunshine Coast businessman was the last of three directors from the whitegoods empire to be found guilty of fraud and insolvent trading following the company's inglorious $100 million collapse in 2009. 

The 66-year-old's family and supporters packed out the gallery of the Brisbane District Court on Friday where Young - to the bitter end - pleaded his innocence to 17 charges of failing to prevent a company from incurring debt and two fraud charges.

In January after a lengthy trial, a jury found that Young had defrauded Westpac bank out of $13m and accumulated debts of more than $750,000 while trading insolvent.

It comes after Young's brother Bradley was sentenced to nine years' jail in 2016 and Gary Armstrong copped seven years' in 2015 for his role in the financial scandal.

Commonwealth Prosecutor Lincoln Crowley said Young concealed the intertwined relationship of Kleenmaid's offshoot companies and how the company operated so that "Westpac never knew the full picture".

Andrew Young has denied he acted fraudulently while at the helm of Kleenmaid.
Young has been sentenced to nine years' jail.

"The directors and this defendant took it upon themselves to keep the business afloat, by hook or by crook and ultimately it was by crook," Mr Crowley said.

Mr Crowley said in another "calculated and callous" case of fraud Young sent an email marked "private and confidential" requesting that $330,000 be transferred into a trust account.

The court heard the request was made two days before the company went into voluntary administration and the money was slated for employee wages.

Young, who represented himself after dropping his legal team midway through the trial, railed against the Crown's statement of facts even at his sentence.

He questioned why, if he believed the business was failing, would he have sold his family home and injected $4 million into the company.

"I sold my family home, which my wife wasn't that happy with, and poured $4 million in," Mr Young said.

"It's completely at odds with any assertions that I had any expectation that we were trading insolvently."

Throughout the course of the trial, there were repeated delays with Young making almost daily applications to Judge Deveraux for witnesses to be recalled or giving reasons why he felt the trial should be aborted.

At one point in the trial, Young requested a delay so he could get an urgent colonoscopy.

On another occasion Young collapsed outside the courtroom and was wheeled away by paramedics on a stretcher only to return to court the next day.

On Friday Young told the court that following a restructure in 2007, he was not a director of control of Edis Services Logistics - Kleenmaid's spare parts offshoot and arm that was used to carry out the  insolvent trading.

Andrew and Bradley Young in 2009 just after it was decided Kleenmaid would be liquidated.
Andrew Young's sentence was guided by that of his brother Bradley (right) and Gary Armstrong (not pictured).

But Judge Brian Devereaux said the evidence made it "inescapable" that the jury would find he was a defacto director.

He spoke of the "palpable" financial and emotional stress Young's crimes had taken on the business community. 

"There were hundreds of emails tendered in this trial which set out the devastating effects of the way you and the others conducted the enterprise," Judge Deveraux said.

"It would be obnoxious and naïve to consider these kinds off victimless."

Judge Deveraux took some time detailing how Young, a father of seven and grandfather of 24, had many admirable contributions to the community since moving to the Sunshine Coast in 1984.

He detailed his volunteer work through the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and how he had once guaranteed the debt of a local school.

But Judge Deveraux said Young, as a consequence of pleading not guilty, had shown no real remorse for his actions nor accepted responsibility for his actions.

"People in the commercial community must be put on notice that dishonesty will bring commensurate punishment," he said.

Young will spend at least five years behind bars before he is eligible for parole. 

- NewsRegional