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Notorious

Esra Ogru


Address: Vic, Australia
Age: 43
Sex: Female
Occupation: Doctor

Convictions


Date: 7 November 2014
Charges: Obtaining a financial advantage by deception x7
Category: Fraud
Court: County Court of Victoria
Judge: Judge Hampel
Penalty: 6 years’ imprisonment

The County Court of Victoria convicted Dr Esra Ogru, Dr Robert Gianello and Dr Woei-Jia Jiang.


Ogru was convicted to seven charges of obtaining a financial advantage by deception. Gianello was convicted three charges of obtaining a financial advantage by deception. Jiang was convicted to three charges of obtaining a financial advantage by deception.


Between November 2004 and July 2013, Ogru held various high level positions of trust with VHS and Phosphagenics. She commenced as Phosphagenics’ Vice President of Research and Development, became a director of VHS and later Phosphagenics. She was promoted over time to Chief Operating Officer and then to Chief Executive Officer of Phosphagenics. Of the total of approximately $6 million defrauded, Ogru received a personal monetary benefit of just under $4 million. Gianello received a personal benefit of just under $680,000, and Jiang received a personal benefit of just over $1.1 million.


Most of the money was obtained through a false invoicing scheme. The scheme was elaborate in its detail but revolved around a simple deceit.  Between November 2004 and June 2008, false invoices were submitted to VHS or Phosphagenics on behalf of companies controlled by Gianello. Between June 2008 and June 2013, the false invoices emanated from companies controlled by Jiang. Ogru determined the amount to be claimed in each invoice and the services purportedly performed. Ogru had invoice templates for the companies controlled by Gianello and Jiang, and each of Gianello, Jiang and Ogru shared in the task of preparing and submitting the false invoices. Ogru then approved the false invoices for payment.


When VHS or Phosphagenics paid the amounts fraudulently invoiced to the relevant company, Ogru then split the payment with Gianello for the period up to mid-2008, and Jiang for the remainder of the time, in the proportions that they had agreed with each of them. Further false invoices were prepared to provide an appearance of authenticity to the transfer to Ogru of her share in each of the fraudulent claims.


Ogru pleaded guilty to the following charges of obtaining a financial advantage by deception by this scheme: 



  • Charge 1 covers the period from 29 November 2004 to 8 April 2008. VHS paid a total of $1,087,812 claimed in 44 false invoices submitted to it from Gianello’s company, Bynex Research Services Pty Ltd. Ogru received $510,215 and Gianello retained the balance of $577,597.



  • Charge 2 covers the period of 19 June 2008 to 8 July 2010. VHS paid a total of $1,331,495 claimed in 39 false invoices submitted to it from Jiang’s company TABridge Pty Ltd.



  • Charge 3 covers the period from 19 July 2010 to 15 May 2013. Phosphagenics paid a total of $2,979,140 claimed in 89 false invoices submitted to it from Jiang’s company, TABridgePty Ltd.



  • Charge 4 covers the period 1 March 2013 to 25 April 2013. Phosphagenics paid a total of $81,400 claimed in three false invoices submitted to it to by CK Australia Pty Ltd, a company registered in Jiang’s wife’s name but controlled by him.


A total of $4,392,035 was misappropriated. Of that, Ogru received $2,717,513 and Jiang received $1,100,026. The balance of just under $500,000 was divided between a joint venture entity, PMP-Vic, controlled by Ogru, and Gianello, Pharma Max and IPR, companies registered in the name of Gianello’s wife but controlled by him, and an independent third party, Pharmasynth Pty Ltd.


Gianello pleaded guilty to three charges of obtaining a financial advantage by deception arising out of these same circumstances:



  • Charge 1 covers the same period concerning Ogru’s charge 1, namely, 29 November 2004 to 8 April 2008, and the same amount, namely, $1,087,812 paid by VHS based on false invoices submitted to it from Gianello’s company Bynex Research Services. Gianello received $577,597, and Ogru retained the balance of $510,215.



  • Charge 2 covers the same period concerning Ogru’s charge 2, namely, 19 June 2008 to 8 July 2010, and the same amount, namely, $1,331,495, paid by VHS based on false invoices submitted to it from Jiang’s company TABridge Pty Ltd. Just under $500,000 was paid to PMP-Vic, the joint venture vehicle established for the benefit of Gianello and Ogru, and Pharma Max and IPR, the companies registered in his wife’s name but controlled by him. His personal benefit, after making allowance for services actually provided by him and others is estimated to be approximately $100,000.



  • Charge 3 covers a longer period, a lesser amount and fewer false invoices in respect of the TABridge/Phosphagenics invoices the subject of Ogru’s charge 3. YHis offending is said to have spanned the period from 19 July 2010 to 20 August 2013. The amount defrauded is $2,216,610, not the $2,979,140 the subject of Ogru’s like charge, and it relates to 67, not 89, false invoices submitted to Phosphagenics from TABridge Pty Ltd. Of that amount, $77,460 was paid to PMP-Vic, and again it would appear that that payment was in respect of services actually provided, but in respect of which Phosphagenics was not liable.  The remainder was divided between Ogru and Jiang.


Jiang pleaded guilty to three charges of obtaining a financial advantage by deception arising out of these same circumstances:



  • His first charge is charge 4 on the joint indictment by which he and Gianello were charged, and is in respect of moneys paid by VHS based on false invoices submitted to it from his company, TABridge Pty Ltd. It covers the same period as charge 2 on Ogru’s indictment and charge 2 in respect of Gianello on his joint indictment, namely, 19 June 2008 to 8 July 2010. The total financial advantage obtained by deception is the same as for his two co-offenders, namely, $1,331,495. Again, the number of false invoices pleaded as involved is different: 32 for Jiang, as opposed to 38 for DGianello and 39 for Ogru.



  • The second charge is charge 5 on the joint Gianello/Jiang indictment, and is in respect of moneys paid by Phosphagenics based on false invoices submitted to it from TABridge Pty Ltd. Again, the time period for this charge differs slightly from the time period set out in the Phosphagenics/TABridge charges concerning Ogru and Gianello.  That is charge 3 on Ogru’s indictment, and charge 3 on the joint Gianello/Jiang indictment. All the Phosphagenics/TABridge charges have the same commencement date, namely, 9 July 2010, but Jiang finishes on 24 May 2013, where Ogru’s concludes on 15 May 2013 and Gianello’s concluded on 20 August 2012. Jiang’s charge concerns 85 false invoices, Ogru’s 89 and Dr Gianello’s 67. The total amount pleaded as defrauded in respect of Jiang on this charge is $2,979,140, the same amount charged in respect of Ogru, and greater than the amount charged in respect of Gianello.



  • The third charge is charge 6 on the joint Gianello/Jiang indictment, and is in respect of moneys paid by Phosphagenics based on false invoices submitted to it from the other company controlled by Jiang, CK Australia. This covers the same offending by Ogru which is the subject of charge 4 on her indictment. The amount defrauded is the same, namely, $81,400, and the number of false invoices, namely, three, is the same. The timeframe again differs slightly, between 2 May 2013 and 10 June 2013 for Jiang, between 1 March 2013 and 25 April 2013 for Ogru.



  • Of the total sums obtained from VHS and Phosphagenics by the deceptions to which Dr Jiang, were a party, namely, $4,392,035, Jiang passed $2,717,513 on to Ogru and retained $1,100,026 for himself. The remaining amount, that approximate half million dollars, was disbursed to PMP-Vic, the Gianello entities Pharma Max and IPR, and the independent third-party, Pharmasynth.


Ogru faced additional charges which do not involve her co-offenders. Charges 5 and 6 concern the obtaining of $267,186.30 and $278,703.06 from VHS and Phosphagenics respectively, as reimbursement for credit card payments made by her and which she falsely asserted had been made on behalf of VHS and Phosphagenics. This credit card offending occurred between 27 November 2006 and 13 November 2013. In total, 17 false claims were made against VHS and 20 against Phosphagenics.


 


And charge 7 concerns the false attribution of responsibility to Phosphagenicsto pay for goods and services provided by a company, Axcytogen Pty Ltd. Between 5 February 2009 and 15 October 2012, I think,Phosphagenics paid, under five separate invoices, a total amount of $120,995.70 to Axcytogen. In fact, the goods and services were provided to two entities associated with you, namely, PMP-Vic and Zarion Pty Ltd. 


Ogru was sentenced to 6 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 2 years.


Gianello was sentenced to 4 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 2 years.


Jiang was sentenced to 2 years and 6 months’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 12 months.