A company director who promised investors of returns up to 30% per annum from property development projects in Queensland has been found guilty of fraud.
Steven William Hill was found guilty six charges of fraudulent misappropriation totalling more than $280,000 by a Sydney District Court jury after a four-week trial.
Hill was ordered to stand trial on the charges after an investigation by the Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) into Hill Stephens & Associates Pty Ltd and International Finance Consortium (Aust) Pty Ltd.
The ASIC investigation revealed that between January 2006 and February 2007, Hill met with various investors based in NSW and described himself as a “financier/consultant.”
Hill reviewed the financial circumstances of investors, recommended they set up a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) for investment, referred investors to a solicitor to establish a SMSF, elicited establishment fees and instructed investors to deposit their funds to his company bank accounts.
Hill claimed the $618,000 he raised from investors would be used as 'seed capital' in a number of Queensland based property developments he was facilitating.
Hill advised investors that they would receive returns of between 10 - 30% per annum, however, unknown to the investors, funds paid were not invested in the property developments as originally advised.
Hill was charged with eight counts of fraudulent misappropriation in June 2013 and was ordered to stand trial on seven of those charges in March 2015.
Hill was found guilty by the jury of fraudulently misappropriating $281,000 of the invested funds, which were used to make payments to Mr Hill and other third parties.
Hill was found not guilty of one charge of fraudulently misappropriating $150,000.
The matter will return to court on 7 April 2016 for sentencing.
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