Wearing snake-skin boots and with his trademark mullet-style long black hair, Mr Vella told reporters outside Sydney's NSW Supreme Court he believed it was inconceivable that someone could just "sign your signature and get money". Mr Vella's solicitor, Maurice May of Slater & Gordon, said the case sounded a warning to banks and financial institutions. "What this highlights is that financial distributors such as mortgage providers and banks should be very, very careful before they advance money when there's a possibility that the document is forged," Mr May said. Mr Caradonna, who is currently in protective custody, is due to face Parramatta Local Court today after being charged with 26 fraud offences. Documents tendered to the court last week stated that Mr Caradonna, 46, refinanced three loans held by Mr Vella to obtain more than $2million over a three-week period from Christmas 2005.
Mr Vella had been in dispute over the property deeds to his home at Horsley Park in western Sydney and several motorcycle clubhouses, including the Rebels' fortress-style national headquarters at Luddenham in Sydney's west. As revealed by The Australian, Wheatley - who is the manager for singer John Farnham and in the past handled artists including the Little River Band and Delta Goodrem - and Mr Caradonna were joint operators of boxing promoter Blue Corner Promotions. Company searches reveal that both men controlled the company between September 2004 and December last year, when it was disbanded. Wheatley - who was released into home detention last week after serving 10 months for defrauding the tax office by failing to declare income tax - and Mr Caradonna are understood to have promoted bouts via Blue Corner Promotions at the Parramatta Leagues Club. Fellow boxing promoter Stuart Duncan, a long-time friend of Wheatley, said he believed that Mr Caradonna and Wheatley had been introduced to each other through a John Farnham fan club.