Australia jails ponzi scheme operators who promised high interest to investors

In a crime and punishment move within the financial industry, Australia’s markets based regulator ASIC shows there is ‘serious consequences for company directors who act dishonestly’ within the jurisdiction.

Australia has been attracting some of the best brands in FX and CFD trading, one of the reasons is the perceived safety in clients minds of opening an account with an Australian broker, where the country has top notch oversight and regulation on par with that of the USA or UK.

You can read the official press release concerning this most interesting of financial business schemes below:

Mr. Ronald David Williams and Mr. Gary David Maile, former Directors of Selection One Finance Pty Ltd (Selection One), were today sentenced in the Brisbane District Court after pleading guilty to breaches of director duties.

Mr. Williams and Mr. Maile pleaded guilty to one count each of failing to exercise their powers and discharge their duties as company directors in good faith in the best interests of the company and that their failure was intentionally dishonest.

Both Mr. Williams and Mr. Maile were sentenced to four years and three months imprisonment with a non-parole period of 16 months.

ASIC had alleged that Messrs Williams and Maile operated a business through Selection One which borrowed funds from investors for approximately 12 months at an interest rate of 3% per month or 36% per annum.

Messrs Williams and Maile represented to investors that the funds would be on-lent to third parties as short term loans at 6% per month, thus allowing the high returns to investors. The proportion of money actually on-lent to borrowers was very small compared to the amount of investor funds received. Selection One’s poor financial performance meant it was only able to survive by raising new investors funds to pay the high rate of interest promised to its existing investors.

Selection One’s poor performance was not disclosed to new or existing investors and Messrs Williams and Maile did not take any steps to alter or abandon the company’s high risk business model, continuing to encourage investors to invest in Selection One.

On March 3rd, 2009 Selection One was placed in voluntary administration with outstanding debts of approximately $20,915,330 owed to 88 investors.

ASIC Commissioner, Mr. Greg Tanzer, said it was a fundamental responsibility of company directors to act honestly and in the interests of the company they govern.

“The jailing of Mr. Williams and Mr. Maile should send a clear message there are serious consequences for company directors who act dishonestly. The investing public is entitled to expect that company directors are acting in their interests. ASIC will act to ensure that blatant breaches of directors’ duties are pursued in the courts,” Mr. Tanzer said.

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions prosecuted the matter.

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