A man who fraudulently sold a Holden 48-215 (FX) for AU$246,000 as a unique American test prototype has had his jail sentence upheld in Victorian Court of Appeal.
As reported by Perth Now, Damon Donnelly claimed the FX he sold was one of three Holden FX prototypes Holden sent to the US for testing purposes.
Donnelly claimed the car to be prototype number two, but while one of those real prototypes does indeed still exist and is in a museum, today the other two are unaccounted for.
In the case of car number two (which Donelly claims his was), it has no records beyond 1969 after it landed back in Australia in 1947 and passed through several hands.
However, what is recorded is Donnelly buying the numberplate combination that was originally on prototype number two – JP 481 – in August 2009, followed by an FX Holden sedan a month later.
In a two-year period, the court heard Donnelly made a number of changes to the FX to resemble what a real prototype would have had, including welding marks on floor panels, changing the engine number to one of a prototype and other features that would only be unique to a prototype.
Once completed, the car initially hit the market with Donnelly asking AU$1.2million. At the time he claimed the car had been acquired from a deceased estate.
He settled for AU$246,000 to the eventual buyer, who had been convinced of its authenticity as a prototype.
Donnelly was arrested in 2017 for the fraudulent sale, saying he and his stepfather had reconstructed the car after it came to them in parts.
The accused appealed the sentence in the Victorian Court of Appeals, but was knocked back by Justice Emilios Kyrou and sentenced to jail for three years for obtaining property by deception, for which he must serve at least 18 months.
He was also ordered to repay the $AU246,000.