A former Parramatta Eels manager linked to the NRL club's salary cap scandal has walked free from a Sydney court after a magistrate dismissed fraud charges against him.
Jason Robert Irvine, 44, was charged with two counts of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception and one of dishonestly obtaining property by deception.
He was accused of submitting false invoices to landscape management company Green Options between December 2014 and June 2015 and creating a false sponsorship deal worth almost $90,000 to help the Eels dodge the salary cap.
The club's former football and logistics team manager was also accused of taking the opportunity to benefit personally by transferring a significant portion of those funds to himself after payments were made to two players.
In the Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday, magistrate Megan Greenwood dismissed the charges but said she found the facts in the case "deeply troubling".
They were very strongly suggestive of guilt but, the magistrate said, she had to be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt.
Ms Greenwood found Mr Irvine had lied in his interview with NRL investigators including when he said he didn't take anything for himself and that former Eels boss Scott Seward may have.
Seward was previously placed on a good behaviour bond without a conviction for dishonestly obtaining $220,000 from the club through false invoices.
The magistrate in his case said Seward repeatedly asked for help from the board after receiving demands for cash from players and managers but was told to fix the problem or they would find someone who could.
Ms Greenwood referred to Seward's evidence including when he revealed the pressure on him and stated: "I thought I would wake up to find a horse's head on my driveway".
Mr Irvine's charges related to three Green Options invoices for $40,000, $32,000 and $17,490, out of a total of 14 invoices, which referred to "work not completed" and "not previously paid".
The magistrate noted evidence given by Green Options managing director Anthony Herman who "stuck to those exact words".
The timing of the invoices - issued immediately after a phone call from Mr Irvine who would then immediately issue a sponsorship involving the same amount - was "incredibly co-incidental", she said.
Despite how easy it would have been for Mr Herman to give "unequivocal evidence" about whether the invoices were false or legitimate, he didn't do so despite being given multiple opportunities, Ms Greenwood noted.