Matthew Privato aboard racehorse 'Lutesong' during Race 5 at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney, pictured here in 1996. Photo: Greg Porteous
Matthew Privato aboard racehorse 'Lutesong' during Race 5 at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney, pictured here in 1996. Photo: Greg Porteous

‘He’s fallen a long way’: Jockey in court over Facebook scam

Matthew Privato, once one of Sydney's leading jockeys, has been convicted over a Coffs Harbour Facebook scam.

Wearing prison greens, Privato appeared in the glass dock at Coffs Harbour Local Court on Monday. He was supported in court by his mother.

He had been remanded in custody after he missed a court appearance in relation to the scam in February, and a warrant was subsequently issued for his arrest.

"He's certainly fallen a long way your honour," the defence said.

"He was once one of the leading jockeys in Sydney - in the top 10 or 20 - and now finds himself in custody before court."

It was heard that in October 2018, a Facebook user responded to an offer to buy a lounge for a price of $760.

After communicating with the seller, the victim deposited the money into a bank account however the couch was never delivered.

The victim was then blocked by the seller, and reported the incident to police.

Following investigations police linked the seller's Facebook account to Privato and his partner.

Privato appeared at Coffs Harbour Local Court for sentencing on Monday, March 1. Photo: Trevor Veale
Privato appeared at Coffs Harbour Local Court for sentencing on Monday, March 1. Photo: Trevor Veale

The retired jockey was then charged with dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception and later pleaded guilty in court and was released on bail.

The defence told the court that Privato was remorseful and had been struggling with mental health issues including bipolar disorder.

At the time of his court appearance this week Privato was on an Intensive Corrections Order imposed in Parramatta in March 2020 in relation to a separate offence, however the Magistrate noted that the Coffs Harbour scam offences predated this.

Privato was convicted and sentenced to a 9 month Community Corrections Order under the conditions that he does not commit any further offences and must appear before the court if called upon.

Privato's horse racing career began in the early '90s and continued until 2005, when he retired and served as a manager for jockeys including two-time Melbourne Cup winner Jim Cassidy.


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