Are South Australians and Tasmanians the most honest corporate players in Australia? It’s hard to conclude otherwise, given that ASIC have none of their number behind bars at the moment.
A Crikey analysis of the current 23 blokes and one woman who have been locked up by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, shows that Victorians are the worst offenders, followed by Queenslanders.
Apologies are also due to Western Australia — it is no longer the Wild West as there is only one solitary Sandgroper currently in the clink courtesy of the corporate plod.
Enough of the niceties, let’s continue the ASIC jail list series by providing a state-by-state break-down of everyone currently jailed by ASIC, starting with these nine naughty Victorians.
Nine Victorian white-collar criminals currently serving sentences following ASIC prosecutions
November 13, 2015 — Peter Mavridis: former CEO the S Central Group got four years and eight months. The 43-year-old from Craigieburn in Victoria has a non-parole period of three years. He was found guilty by a jury in relation to 33 charges of obtaining financial advantage by deception and false accounting. Between January and September 2009, he directed the financial controller of the group to submit duplicated and/or falsely inflated invoices to NAB under a debtor factoring agreement, which led to credit totalling approximately $4.8 million being advanced to companies within the S Central Group.
July 22, 2010 — Christopher Koch: Point Cook resident in Victoria who was sentenced in the County Court to 13 years and two months. Between 1996 and 1999, he promoted a fictitious, international, high-yield investment program where investors were told they would receive returns of between 50% and 150% in periods as short as 90 days. Koch received $1.742 million from 11 victims and is required to serve a minimum sentence of 10 years before release.
March 17, 2015 — Lukas Kamay: NAB employee who was living in Clifton Hill at the time, was sentenced to seven years and three months for his part in Australia’s biggest insider trading scandal, which yielded $7 million in forex trading profits courtesy of leaks from his mate Christopher Hill, who worked at the ABS.
August 14, 2014 — Mark Ronald Letten: the well-known South Yarra accountant was sentenced in the County Court to five years and eight months after pleading guilty to 27 charges, including operating 21 unregistered managed investment schemes relating to property development. The 60-year-old was the principal of accounting firm Lettens Pty Ltd, which carried on a financial services business without a licence. He must serve a minimum three years. Between 1998 and 2010, more than 1000 investors, the majority of whom were sourced through Letten’s accountancy practice, placed more than $100 million into his investment property schemes, but ASIC wound the lot up and investors lost at least $67 million.
August 20, 2014 — Carlo Cini: sentenced to five years and three months for his role as a director of Williamstown-based company, C Cini & Company Pty Ltd. Minimum sentence from the County Court of Victoria was three years and three months after he pleaded guilty to a $1 million fraud. ASIC’s investigation found he raised more than $1 million from seven investors based on representations that the money would be used for property development, when the majority of the funds were subsequently used for other purposes, including the lease of a Ferrari and several Mercedes and the deposit to purchase a family home. Also issued $700,000 in dud cheques to the investors.
April 17, 2014 — Russell Johnson: the former sole director of Sonray Capital Markets was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in jail in the Victorian Supreme Court after the company collapsed in 2010 owing more than $46 million. The charges included false accounting, theft and deception and conspiracy to steal. Johnson will serve a minimum of three-and-a-half years. Sonray was established in 2003 and held an AFSL. It was one of the first brokers in Australia that provided advice on CFDs.
September 13, 2016 — Barry Patrick: the 73-year-old Sunbury man was sentenced to six years and three months in the County Court after pleading guilty to six charges. He will be eligible for parole after serving three years and nine months. His crime was to nominate investors to be directors of a number of companies formed to purchase properties on the outskirts of Melbourne for development after they refinanced their homes or established SMSFs to invest in the developments. Fourteen punters put up $600,000 when Patrick was not authorised to provide the financial advice.
August 25, 2016 — Garry Matthews: former director of Carrington Carpet Services, was sentenced to three years’ jail after earlier pleading guilty to dishonestly and recklessly using his position as a director to cause detriment to the company after authorising the withdrawal of $1.075 million in bank cheques for his personal use.
December 1, 2016 –– Anthony Nicholls: sentenced to three years and six months, to be released after serving two years and six months, after pleading guilty to three charges of making dishonest use of his position as a director.
Seven Queensland white-collar criminals currently serving sentences following ASIC prosecutions
November 15, 2016 — Darren Wise: Former Maroochydore financial adviser sentenced to seven years, but eligible for parole after 20 months. ASIC brought a range of changes related to his conduct as a financial adviser at Kawana Waters between October 23, 1997, and March 10, 2006.
March 3, 2017 — Cymon Fontaine: sentenced to four years’ imprisonment in the Southport District Court after pleading guilty to defrauding six time share clients for a total of $105,910.
September 2, 2016 — Garth Robertson: the former CEO of collapsed debenture issuer Wickham Securities was sentenced to five years after pleading guilty to various charges brought by ASIC, including fraud. The 50-year-old Sunshine Coast man admitted to dishonestly obtaining property totalling $761,504 from Wickham and giving false information about Wickham to its trustee, Sandhurst Trustees.
November 10, 2016 — Fred Hansen: Gold Coast man sentenced to four years in the Southport District Court. ASIC alleged that between October 2008 and September 2010, he dishonestly used his position as director of Global Rule to incur an unrelated personal debt in the amount of $8.42 million to be incurred by Global Rule. During the period, he then used $5.72 million of Global Rule investors’ funds to commence repaying the debt.
January 18, 2016 — Thanh Tu: the 38-year-old Brisbane man was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years in the Brisbane District Court after pleading guilty to 33 counts of fraud and 21 counts of fraudulent falsification of records. Between September 2008 and September 2013, the Patersons Securities employee dishonestly induced 18 separate individual investors to invest approximately $9 million by misleading investors and by giving, to some investors, false certificate of investment in the fictitious Paterson Securities and fictitious Patersons Securities Capital Protected Fund. The defendant did not invest the money into secure investments as directed but instead, fraudulently redirected the funds to his own account and then ultimately lost a total of $8.12 million trading. Only $959,000 was recovered.
August 15, 2016 — Bradley Young: a former director of one of the Kleenmaid group of companies who was sentenced to nine years imprisonment after being found guilty by a District Court jury of 18 offences arising out of the collapse of the national whitegoods distributor. Trial lasted 71 days and the jury found him guilty of fraudulently gaining a $13 million Westpac loan, criminal insolvent trading totalling $3.5 million relating to Westpac loans and 15 counts of criminal insolvent trading of debts totalling more than $750,000 that were incurred during the period October 2008 to April 2009.
October 2, 2015 — Gary Collyer Armstrong: the former Kleenmaid director was sentenced to seven years jail for his role in the collapse of the national whitegoods distributor after pleading guilty to insolvent trading and fraudulently obtaining $13 million from Westpac. He will be eligible for parole on February 2, 2018.
Six NSW white-collar criminals currently serving sentences following ASIC prosecutions
February 10, 2015 — Melinda Scott: financial adviser jailed for six years and three months for defrauding more than 150 clients of over $5.9 million over a period of 20 years. She appeared before the NSW District Court and will serve a minimum of three years and 10 months. In December 2013, she pleaded guilty to three dishonest conduct charges and four charges relating to the making and use of false documents involving $5.9 million of her clients’ money. Scott’s misconduct continued over 20 years and largely involved superannuation and annuities products that were invested for the longer term. Some clients were given regular payments reducing Scott’s fraudulent benefit to about $2.9 million. ANZ authorised her actions between 2004 and 2012 but then fully co-operated with ASIC’s investigation. The majority of the rip-offs occurred before ANZ was involved but the bank ran a big remediation program, which ASIC applauded. Almost $6 million was paid back to 140 ANZ clients.
February 10, 2017 — Andrew John Sigalla: The former TZ Ltd director was sentenced to ten years with a minimum of six after being found guilty of 24 counts of dishonest conduct, following a jury trial in the NSW Supreme Court. He used his position as a director dishonestly to gain financial advantage by causing $8.6 million in company funds to be transferred to either himself, his related entities or others.
December 17, 2010 — Kovelan Bangaru: the former Streetwise director was sentenced to eight years and six months’ imprisonment and will not be eligible for parole until he has served six years and four months. He fraudulently obtained over $19.8 million from a number of financial institutions by providing false financial statements in support of various loan applications from companies of which he was a director.
April 18, 2016 — Steven William Hill: former company director sentenced in the Sydney District Court to two years and nine months, with a minimum of one year and nine months. His company induced various investors to pay $618,000 to acquire interests in a Queensland “house and land” property development, but then he fraudulently misappropriating $281,000 of the invested funds.
June 24, 2016 — Oliver Curtis: the 30-year-old former banker was sentenced to two years after being found guilty by a NSW Supreme Court jury of conspiring to commit insider trading with his former best friend, John Hartman. Will be out after 12 months on a good behaviour bond. Curtis used confidential information to make a profit of $1.43 million. Hartman procured Curtis to trade in contracts for difference (“CFDs”), when Hartman held inside information about the trading intentions of his employer, Orion Asset Management. It was alleged that on 45 occasions Curtis traded in CFDs after he received instructions from Hartman. ASIC launched its investigation in 2009 and their conspiracy was exposed when Hartman confessed his crime to ASIC.
March 11, 2016 — Hui Xiao: Former Hanlong Mining managing director Hui Xiao was sentenced to a total of eight years and three months’ imprisonment on insider trading charges. He had previously pleaded guilty to two “rolled up” charges of insider trading, and formally admitted a third “rolled up” charge, involving a total of 102 illegal trades in financial products related to Sundance Resources and Bannerman Resources in July 2011, while he was the managing director of Hanlong Mining. Non-parole period of five years and six months, and he was in custody since first arrested in Hong Kong in January 2014 before extradition. Taking into consideration time already served, he will not qualify for release until after July 11, 2019.
One WA white-collar criminal currently serving a sentence following ASIC prosecution
December 23, 2013 — Neil Duckworth: 66-year-old former director of now-defunct WA property developer Ocean Key Holdings Limited who got four years after stealing more than $820,000. Contested a four-week jury trial in Perth. Ocean Keys sought $5 million from the public in 2006 for a development but never made any substantial progress on the project 130 kilometres north of Perth.
One Canberra white-collar criminal currently serving a sentence following ASIC prosecution
March 17, 2015 — Christopher Russell Hill: The arrest and conviction of an ABS officer for an unauthorised disclosure of statistics was unprecedented in the ABS’s 110-year history. The sentence of three years and three months resulted from charge of insider trading, money laundering and abuse of public office.