A South Australian company director has been hit with 32 criminal charges following an Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) investigation in to property investment via self-managed superannuation funds.

George John Nowak appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court charged with 31 counts of deception and one count of dishonest dealings with documents after an ASIC investigation into his business relations with SMSF members who were undertaking property purchases offered by companies of which he was a director, including EJ Property Developments Pty Ltd.

ASIC alleges Nowak misappropriated $1.8 million in SMSF monies by not holding funds in a designated account and by not applying those funds towards the intended property purchase.

The charges of deception contrary to section 139(b) of the SA Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 each carry a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment.

The charge of dishonest dealings with documents contrary to section 140 of the SA Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 carries a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment.

Nowak was not required to enter a plea and was granted conditional bail. The matter is listed for return at the Adelaide Magistrates Court on 12 July 2016 with the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions pursuing the case.

The investigation into Nowak was carried out by ASIC’s SMSF Taskforce, which was established in 2012 in response to the growth of the SMSF sector.

In March 2015 ASIC banned Nowak from providing financial services until 3 July 2017 on the basis that he had applied for personal bankruptcy in July 2014.

Nowak had also been previously investigated by ASIC in 2014 in regards to the collapse of the Charterhill group of companies which specialised in assisting clients to invest in property through SMSFs.