Victorian couple to stand trial on property fraud charges

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 A Victorian couple have been committed to stand trial on charges of fraud relating to property deals in Australia and the United States.

Maureen Gael Johnston and Mr Douglas Gordon Johnston of Carrum Downs were charged with more than 70 offences, including fraud, obtaining a financial advantage or property by deception, and attempting to pervert the course of justice in November 2014 after an ASIC investigation into property deals worth $1.5 million.

A three day committal hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court last week found there were grounds for Mr and Mrs Johnston to stand trial.

ASIC investigated Investman Nominees (USA) Pty Ltd and Small Business Management Pty Ltd and allege Mr and Mrs Johnston misled people into investing approximately $1.5 million into various property developments in the United States and Australia.

ASIC alleges the money raised was not used to develop any properties, but instead used by Mr and Mrs Johnston for their own benefit.

It’s alleged through their close association with the Collingwood Football Club the Johnstons allegedly misled club supporters into investing.

ASIC alleges the funds raised by the Johnstons were not used to develop any properties, but were instead used in part for gambling at the Melbourne Crown Casino, paying personal credit card debts and to make interest payments to investors in a Ponzi style operation. 

Mr and Mrs Johnston have both pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail.

The matter is listed for a Directions Hearing on 18 January 2016 at the Victorian County Court. 

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