A FORMER Bendigo lawyer is facing 465 charges of fraud.
Euan Vance, 52, says he will contest all charges relating to $1.2 million of alleged fraud committed in Bendigo.
Vance was arrested at his home in Queensland last week and extradited to Victoria to appear in the Bendigo Magistrates Court.Detectives said it had been a long and protracted case; the investigation was launched in July 2011.
Representing himself in court, Vance said he was fully aware of the seriousness of the charges.
He said the time he spent in custody last week was the worst experience of his life.
“I intend to defend every charge against me,” he said. “I know full well they are very serious charges.
“If I’m found guilty I’ll be sentenced to jail for a number of years.” Prosecuting, Senior Constable Tony Graham said detectives were also pursuing Vance for a further $172,000, on top of the $1.2 million in fraud charges.
Vance yesterday said he had no knowledge of the missing money.
A warrant issued on February 28 led to Vance’s arrest at his home in Eagleby, south of Brisbane. He was granted bail in the Beenleigh Magistrates Court on Friday and ordered to surrender his passport.
Vance has been suspended as a barrister after years spent working as a lawyer in Bendigo.
In court yesterday, Magistrate William Gibb imposed more bail conditions and ordered Vance to provide $50,000 in surety.
Mr Gibb said there was significant community interest in seeing the case heard in Bendigo because Vance was working as a lawyer at the time of the fraud charges.
“With the seriousness of the charges involving that amount of money in the position of trust you were in... the community certainly has an interest in you attending court in Bendigo.”
Vance said he was determined to fight the charges.
“I’m not trying to run. I want to face the charges,” he said.
Vance was granted bail and allowed to return to his home in Queensland before a committal mention in Bendigo on May 29.