By Tim Dornin

March 18,

A MAN, who took the name of a famous rock star to steal millions of dollars from finance companies, has been jailed for 16 years.

Romeo Pacifico, who changed his name to Richard Sambora, the same as the famed Bon Jovi guitarist, managed to obtain cash loans totalling $25 million.

The Adelaide man used the money to prop up his failing business and to fund a lavish lifestyle including the purchase of luxury homes and cars.

Over a four-year period from about 1998 to 2002, he engaged in an exercise of "robbing Peter to pay Paul", according to South Australian District Court Judge Wayne Chivell.

The judge said Pacifico was involved in string of fraud-related offences where he obtained money from finance companies supposedly for business expenses.

Some of the cash he used to pay off previous loans but Judge Chivell said of the $25,639,133 he obtained, the victims actually lost a total of more than $8 million.

The judge described the offending as premeditated, deliberate and calculated.

"It was stealing and stealing on a grand scale," he said.

Pacifico, 44, eventually pleaded guilty to 19 charges, most involving forged tax and bank statements and also asked the court to take into account another 17 offences.

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photo: Jailed ... Romeo Pacifico outside an Adelaide court in 2006 / Sam Mooy