Disgraced former Health Services Union (HSU) boss Michael Williamson has been taken into custody after a court heard that his “downfall has been complete”.
Family and supporters of Williamson blew kisses and waved as the father of five was taken into custody following a sentencing hearing at Sydney’s District Court on Monday.
It comes months after he pleaded guilty to four offences arising from his conduct while he was president of the HSU.
The charges include recruiting others to hinder a police investigation and two counts of defrauding the HSU.
During Williamson’s sentence hearing, prosecutor Emily Winborne told the court he had created an environment within the HSU where his behaviour would not be questioned.
By creating a series of false invoices made out to the company CANME, which was in his wife’s name, the then union boss began systematically defrauding the union of $340,000 from 2006 to 2009.
He also defrauded printing firm Access Focus of $600,000 between December 2006 and February 2010.
Once inquiries into the union’s financial mismanagement began, Ms Winborne said the length to which Williamson went to cover up his criminal activity was extraordinary.
She submitted that Williamson was motivated by “purely and significantly by greed” when he carried out the offences, noting his salary during that time ranged between $290,000 to more than $500,000.
But forensic psychiatrist Dr Bruce Westmore said Williamson’s early life had left him anxious about providing for his children.
“He wanted to do better for his children than his parents were able to do for him,” he told the court.
Williamson’s barrister, Timothy Game SC, said the former national ALP president had issued an apology to the HSU and taken full responsibility for his actions.
“His downfall has been complete.
“His public reputation, his financial and personal circumstances, his future – everything has been brought down,” Mr Game told the court.
Williamson is due to be sentenced later this month.