It was one of the weirdest court cases the Brisbane Magistrates Court had seen, when on Saturday a 29-year-old bricklayer claimed he was worth $12 billion and seemed to have a bank account to back it up.
However, the crazy scenario which would have seen the man as Australia’s 23rd richest person is not as it seems.
Phillip Johnathan Harrison, a carpenter and brick layer by trade who lives on Sunshine Coast, was was pulled over by police earlier in the week, where in his black Audi, police allegedly found 12 grams of ice worth around $12,000. Harrison says he is a recreational ice user, according to police who said he was behaving strangely.
In the Roma Street Magistrate’s Court, police opposed bail on mental health grounds because Harrison claimed to be a billionaire.
However, Nick Handly, Harrison’s lawyer, told the court he had seen $596 million in cash in a Commonwealth Bank account when his client logged into it online.
“It’s one of the most bizarre cases I have ever come across,” Hanly told Magistrate Anthony Gett.
Harrison says he is a billionaire with the money coming from investments, ideas in cars, apps and trade. He says he has $1.2 billion in property and a share portfolio.
“How would I make billions in drugs without being caught?” he told the ABC outside the court.
“My investments, my ideas in cars, apps, trade, I sold them overseas, have been for years.”
But now The Courier Mail is reporting that Harrison may have used software on his computer to present a fake bank account so he could be granted bail. Often accused criminals with substantial wealth are granted bail as they’re less likely to do a runner.
However, while it may have stumped his lawyer and the court at first, the unexplained wealth caused concern for authorities, leading them to dig for the source of the money.
Firstly they found that despite Harrison’s claims of a $1.5 billion property portfolio, there were no records of him owning any at all. It was then discovered that he used a computer program to mimic an online bank account, where he presented his lawyer with the outrageous figure.
Harrison will return to court on April 18.