Money laundering firefighter cops suspended sentence

A decorated Queensland firefighter has received a suspended sentence for money laundering.

Brisbane's District Court today heard Queensland Fire and Emergency Service Sgt Wayne Richard Leonard, 58, channelled payments between two companies vying for QFES contracts and a senior firefighter involved in the selection process.

Between 2015 and 2017 Leonard handled about $170,000 in payments from the companies, keeping 10% for himself and forwarding the remainder to Insp Steven John Sparks, 44.

Sparks - the principal offender - was jailed for three years in 2019 after pleading guilty to official corruption.

Official corruption charges were withdrawn against Leonard in return for pleas of guilty to engaging recklessly in money laundering.

His barrister Craig Eberhardt said Leonard was unaware of Sparks corrupt conduct and believed he was receiving a "finders fee" for introducing Sparks to one of the companies' owners.

He tendered copies of two QFES service medals awarded to Leonard and urged the court to not record a conviction as further employment would become difficult.

Leonard is currently suspended without pay from QFES but is likely to lose his job after today.

Justice Nathan Jarro said while Leonard's conduct was "naive" and peripheral to the wider scheme the court needed to send a message of deterrence to others.

He sentenced Leonard to 12 months jail suspending it immediately.

Originally published as Money laundering firefighter cops suspended sentence