Guy Sebastian’s manager is jailed for two-and-a-half years for embezzling $600,000 from the singer – after the pop star’s eyewatering paydays and ‘headbutting’ incident were laid bare during high-stakes trial
- Titus Day found guilty of 34 charges of embezzling money from Guy Sebastian
- Sebastian described feeling ‘betrayed’ by his celebrity agent and close friend
- Day was convicted of taking $624,675 in royalties and fees due to Sebastian
- The singer said he felt like at times he was the one on trial during proceedings
- Day, who was Sebastian’s manager for a decade, was sentenced on Thursday
Guy Sebastian’s long-timer manager has been jailed for a minimum two-and-a-half years for embezzling more than $600,000 from his star client.
Titus Day was sentenced to a maximum four years in prison by Judge Tim Gartelmann at Sydney‘s Downing Centre District Court on Thursday afternoon.
Judge Gartelmann said the offences ‘all were committed for financial gain’ but it could not be established beyond reasonable doubt that 49-year-old Day was motivated by greed.
‘There is no evidence of remorse as the offender maintains his innocence – nor is there any evidence regarding prospects of rehabilitation,’ Judge Gartelmann said.
Guy Sebastian’s former manager Titus Day was found guilty in June of embezzling $624,675 from the singer. Sebastian is pictured with wife Jules
Titus Day managed Guy Sebastian for about a decade and the men were once close friends. Day is pictured outside court before his sentencing on Thursday
Day was originally charged with 50 counts of embezzling at least $886,175 in royalties, performance fees and an ambassadorship from Sebastian between 2013 and 2020.
A jury found the father-of-three guilty in June of 34 offences in relation to money totalling $624,675 after deliberating for almost a week.
The offending was a breach of trust but there had been no significant organisation or planning, Judge Gartelmann found. It was not known how Day spent the money.
Publicity surrounding the case and the destruction of Day’s reputation had left him ‘devastated’ and it was unlikely he could ever recover professionally.
The court case pitted two men who were once extremely close against each other and dragged in their wives, who had also been friends.
The brutal split between Sebastian and Day also rocked the entertainment industry.
The court heard Sebastian found ‘anomalies’ in financial records after he split from Day suggesting he was owed payments by his former manager. Sebastian is pictured with Day
Judge Gartelmann said character witnesses had universally described Day as generous, honest and trustworthy. All considered his offending out of character.
Singer Tina Arena was among those who provided a reference for Day, describing him as ‘someone she trusts’ and a man with ‘honesty and integrity’.
The trial was beset by woes, including the death of original judge Peter Zahra, the dismissal of five jurors from a panel of 15 and Sebastian and Crown Prosecutor David Morters SC contracting Covid-19.
While it was Day fighting for his liberty, Sebastian said he felt he was on trial during the hearing and most of the media attention focused on him.
The Voice judge was forced to reveal intimate details of his finances, including sometimes astronomical fees for performances and so-called ‘contra’ deals.
Jurors heard the astronomical figures Sebastian was paid for performances, including $494,360 to support Taylor Swift (above) during the Australian leg of her 2013 world tour
The ARIA Award-winner was in the witness box for more than a week giving evidence in chief before Mr Morters and under cross-examination by Day’s barrister Dominic Toomey SC.
Sebastian – who never signed a contract with Day – had so much money coming in from so many sources he did not notice hundreds of thousands of dollars missing from his bank account for years.
Jurors heard Sebastian was paid $494,360 to support Taylor Swift during the four-city Australian leg of her ‘The Red Tour’ in December 2013.
He charged $54,341 to sing at a wedding in Jakarta in July 2017 and McDonald’s paid the entertainer $66,000 to appear at a conference in September that year.
The hit-maker also received $49,114.62 for singing at Allianz Stadium in Sydney during the British and Irish Lions rugby tour in 2013.
Sebastian gave evidence he had been given a boat, international air fares and the use of two Toyota LandCruisers for himself and his wife instead of cash payment from major companies
In another sideshow to the trial, Jules Sebastian repeatedly denied her husband was a violent man when she was quizzed about an incident in the couple’s home in 2012. Sebastian is pictured at the piano in the couple’s house
The sums that were embezzled range from $593.53 in royalties from Sony Music to $187,524.42 for the Taylor Swift gigs. They also included $57,086.93 for a performance in Singapore and $77,042.96 from a Dreamworld ambassadorship.
Day contended some of the money was withheld to pay expenses and buy shares on Sebastian’s behalf but Judge Gartelmann did not find evidence to support those suggestions.
Sebastian gave evidence he had been given a boat, international air fares and the use of two Toyota LandCruisers for himself and his wife instead of cash payment from major companies.
Day, a qualified lawyer, had first managed Sebastian in 2007 while working for 22 Management. Sebastian had about nine months left on a three-year contract when Day approached him in July 2009 to join his own new company 6 Degrees.
A jury found Titus Day guilty in June of embezzling $624,675 from his former client Guy Sebastian after deliberating for almost a week. Sebastian is pictured with wife Jules
The performer had an agreement with Day under which the agent was to receive a 20 per cent commission on his earning and was paying his manager $500,000 a year.
Sebastian terminated the arrangement in November 2017 in what became an acrimonious split.
He subsequently found ‘anomalies’ in financial records suggesting he was still owed payments by Day and in July 2018 launched a civil claim against him.
Day made a counter claim against Sebastian alleging he was owed money, which led to an examination of the agent’s banking records revealing further anomalies. Sebastian then went to police.
Day told police the chart-topper owed him $1.2million in outstanding commissions.
Sebastian (above) had so much money coming in from so many sources he did not notice hundreds of thousands of dollars missing from his bank account for years
Mr Toomey took Sebastian through invoices, payment statements and banking records, many of which the singer said he did not recall ever seeing.
At one point a frustrated Sebastian told Mr Toomey. ‘I am not forensically skilled… when it comes to money and numbers it is pretty clearly not my forte.’
Sebastian told the court some of what Day did for him required a ‘heavy work load’ but for other tasks he needed ‘very little’ assistance.
Day’s contribution to marketing Sebastian’s song writing and television appearances was negligible. Day would ‘hardly ever rock up’ when he was a judge on The X Factor, for instance, ‘but will take a $200,000 fee’.
Sebastian denied he felt ‘great animosity’ towards Day, saying he instead felt ‘great disappointment’ in his former agent.
‘I have a lot of confusion as to now it’s got to this point,’ he said.
Singer Tina Arena (above) was among those who provided a character reference for Day, describing him as ‘someone she trusts’ and a man with ‘honesty and integrity’
In another exchange, Mr Toomey suggested to Sebastian he was ‘earning a large sum of money’ during his time under Day’s management.
‘Not as large as it should have been, Mr Toomey,’ he said.
Mr Toomey quizzed Sebastian about ‘contra’ payments, which involved receiving goods for his services rather than money.
Sebastian agreed he been involved in ambassadorships with Bose, AirAsia, Canon and Yamaha and accepted a Bluefin boat as payment for performing at a festival in Queensland.
Mr Toomey asked Sebastian if he considered ‘contra’ – to be income. ‘I’m not sure,’ he responded.
‘It’s not something I’ve ever thought about. I hire accountants who’ve been instructed to do everything by the book. You don’t buy a dog and bark yourself.’
The court case pitted two men who were once extremely close against each other and dragged in their wives, who had also been friends. Day is pictured left with Sebastian
Sebastian also had to contend with an email he sent to Day describing the fans of Westlife singer Shane Filan as being ‘fat older women’.
Sebastian had been reluctant to support the Irish boy band star on a 2017 tour because his appearance would not be ‘the right fit’.
‘I said something which wasn’t great, something about feral old women or something,’ he told the court.
In another sideshow to the trial, Jules Sebastian repeatedly denied her husband was a violent man when she was quizzed about an incident in the couple’s home in 2012.
Mrs Sebastian had rung her husband about an intruder she said was attempting to enter the couple’s house at Maroubra in Sydney’s south-east.
Her husband confronted the young man and there was a physical altercation but he denied headbutting the young man, although he told friends he had.
Day sought an apprehended violence order against Sebastian eight years later, citing his ‘violent history’.
It was two days after the AVO was served that Sebastian went to police with his complaint that Day had withheld money from him.
Day had told police he received a phone call in May 2020 in which someone said: ‘Guy Sebastian wants you f***ed’.
‘Two weeks ago he sent emails to my wife trying to intimidate her,’ Day claimed. Three weeks ago someone came on my property and let down my car tyres.’
Sebastian told the court he had never done anything to threaten Day or his wife and had no knowledge of anyone else having done so. Day eventually withdrew the AVO.
How Guy Sebastian felt ‘betrayed’ by one of his closest friends
Guy Sebastian was not present in court when his old friend and manager Titus Day was found guilty of embezzlement earlier this year.
He watched a live stream while pulled over on the side of a road.
‘I was just really relieved at the end because of it’s been four-and-a-half-years of going through something very painful,’ he told 2GB’s Ben Fordham.
‘I feel a lot of things – vindicated is absolutely one of them (also) very confused because I did try everything I possibly could to not get to this point and every step of the way I was met with pretty extreme resistance.
‘I just couldn’t have seen it not going this way.’
Guy Sebastian (left) was not present in court when his old friend and manager Titus Day (right) was found guilty of embezzlement but watched a live stream while pulled over on the side of a road
Sebastian later unleashed on Day in a lengthy Instagram post which described how he felt ‘betrayed’ by one of his closest friends.
Sebastian, who spent more than a week in the witness box, said he was ‘grateful that this painful chapter of my life is finally over’.
‘It was not only shocking but heartbreaking to discover the depth of betrayal and dishonesty that I uncovered over these last four-and-a-half-years,’ he said.
‘There’s nothing more important than trust in an artist/manager relationship. The thing is, Titus was more than just my manager, he was one of my closest mates.’
Sebastian said he’d repeatedly tried to solve the issues with Day but was met with ‘the most outrageous and unfounded accusations’, which he claimed were being used to ‘tarnish my reputation’.
Sebastian admitted he found the court proceedings ‘tougher than I thought’ and said he often felt at times like he was the one on trial – ‘rather than the victim’.
‘I knew however, I couldn’t give up,’ he said.
‘This betrayal happens far too often in my industry and not every artist is in a position to stand up for what is right.’
Actor Ruby Rose, who was previously represented by Day, shared Sebastian’s statement with her own Instagram followers.
‘Dear Titus, I am so glad justice was served,’ she wrote.