STUNG: The Pie Guru owner Anthony Dutton (pictured here with MP Ian Rickuss) lost $30,000 when transport operator Daniel James McDonald and his co-offender Stephen John Donnelly tricked him into paying them a combined $30,000 for a shop they had no interest in.
STUNG: The Pie Guru owner Anthony Dutton (pictured here with MP Ian Rickuss) lost $30,000 when transport operator Daniel James McDonald and his co-offender Stephen John Donnelly tricked him into paying them a combined $30,000 for a shop they had no interest in. Tom Threadingham

Transport business owner's pie fraud leaves a sour taste

A FRAUD who swindled a large chunk of cash from a southeast Queensland pie seller will not spend any time in jail. 

Transport operator Daniel James McDonald faced Brisbane District Court on Monday where he pleaded guilty to one count of fraud.

He was convicted and sentenced to two years in jail, immediately suspended.

The court heard McDonald and his co-offender Stephen John Donnelly tricked NSW businessman Anthony Dutton into paying them a combined $30,000 as payment for a building that would house a second The Pie Guru that Mr Dutton wanted to open in Ipswich.

The Pie Guru also had outlets at Caloundra and Rockhampton at the time of the fraud.

McDonald and Donnelly met with Mr Dutton in 2014, telling the food entrepreneur that McDonald held the lease on the shop Mr Dutton was interested in.

They told him he could only have the store if he took McDonald on as a partner or if he paid him to leave the premises.

Mr Dutton agreed to pay McDonald out, transferring $12,500 to the now 46-year-old man and also sending Donnelly $17,500 in two transactions.

Mr Dutton did not know that neither man had an interest in the building that he paid to access.

Donnelly was convicted on five counts of fraud and sentenced to three years in jail, suspended after serving 12 months.

In sentencing McDonald on Monday, Judge Nicole Kefford took into account the father of four's relatively clean criminal record, his eventual guilty plea and the fact that he has to run his own business to support his family and his elderly mother.

Judge Kefford also noted that McDonald had not committed any offences in the five years from when he was first charged.

However, she said this was not a victimless crime.

"Mr Dutton's victim impact statement speaks of the fraud having had a significant financial impact on him," Judge Kefford said.

"It has taken an emotional toll on him and his family.

"Surely you (McDonald) can appreciate this as you have financial pressures and might well imagine what suffering this type of loss might do to an individual."

Judge Kefford ordered McDonald to repay the $12,500 to Mr Dutton within six months or face further legal ramifications. - NewsRegional