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Unwell high flyer jailed over $1.6m fraud

AAP logoAAP 26/08/2016 Alexandra Patrikios

A member of a well-known horse racing family and former high-flying real estate agent who gambled away more than $1.6 million of his clients' money will stay behind bars until at least 2018.

James Robert Ray Lyons, the grandson and nephew of Melbourne Cup-winning jockeys Billy Cook and Peter Cook respectively, has been sentenced to six years imprisonment after pleading guilty to three fraud-related charges in the Brisbane District Court.

Lyons earned up to $2 million a year as a commercial real estate agent but that wasn't enough to feed an addiction that led to him betting more than $3.5 million between 2011 and 2013.

In sentencing, Judge Brad Farr acknowledged the 38-year-old suffered from a psychiatric condition and the court heard Lyons' addiction was likely linked to bipolar disorder.

Judge Farr also noted Lyons had not repaid any of his "ill-gotten gain" and some of his former clients were still out of pocket, including one man owed more than $400,000, though the court earlier heard more than $1 million had been paid to victims out of a compensation fund.

But he ultimately acknowledged the significance of Lyons' mental health issues and set a parole eligibility date of August 23, 2018.

Defence barrister Saul Holt had said his client had been undergoing counselling for his gambling addiction for the past four months.

Lyons confessed to his fraud when one of his victims confronted him in 2013.

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