Entrepreneur Renato ‘Rennie’ De Maria is more used to private jets, high-performance sports cars and regular vacations on the Italian Riviera, having founded an insurance brokerage empire 25 years ago.
But the 54-year-old, who is currently under investigation by the corporate regulator, appeared before Mansfield Magistrates Court last week, where he pleaded guilty to circulating an intimate image of his ex-wife in what was described as an act of “sheer stupidity”.
De María admitted to creating a WhatsApp group called ‘Good luck’ on May 11, 2021, before including at least five friends of his ex-wife. She then shared 34 images with the group, including private correspondence between the couple and an intimate photo of her ex-wife, without her consent.
During an interview with officers at the Mansfield police station on May 20 of last year, De Maria said he had been drinking heavily at the time of the incident and had been taking prescription medication.
Lawyer Rahmin de Kretser, representing De Maria, urged Judge Peter Mithen to spare his client a conviction because it could prevent him from traveling to the United States, where he has business interests.
De Kretser also said that De Maria was a proud father and a successful businessman, who had raised millions of dollars for charity.
A witness impact statement from de Maria’s ex-wife, which was read in court, said she was suffering from “stress, anxiety, and depression, and I have a constant sense of unease at how I was demoted.”
He moved out after the incident.
Mithen convicted De Maria of two counts related to posting the image and breaching a family violence intervention order. De Maria was fined $1,500.