Misappropriating investor funds leads to jail time for property company director

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An Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) investigation has led to jail time for a Melbourne based property company director.

Anthony Nicholls was last week sentenced in Victorian County Court to four years and six months in jail, and directed to serve a minimum of three years before being released.

The sentence was handed down after the ASIC investigation revealed that Nicholls used his position as director Zantholls International Pty Ltd and Peton Properties Pty Ltd to misappropriate more than $750,000.

Nichols pleaded guilty in May to three charges of dishonestly using his position as a company director to misappropriate the funds, which occurred between 2004 and 2006.

Zantholls International Pty Ltd and Peton Properties Pty Ltd had raised $2.68 million from around 20 investors to be used for property developments in Ballarat, Victoria.

Between October 2004 and August 2006, Nicholls authorised the withdrawal of $756,908.31 from those funds for his own personal benefit.

Peton Properties Pty Ltd was placed into liquidation during October 2007, owing creditors more than $4 million, while Zantholls International Pty Ltd was deregistered by ASIC in April 2009.

In handing down the sentence, Judge Jane Patrick criticised Nicholls for costing many investors their life savings.

“It was serious offending involving dishonesty over a considerable period of time resulting in people losing their entire life savings and future security,” Judge Patrick said.  

“Mr Nicholls had placed multiple nails in the coffin of a terminally ill business and his moral culpability was high.”

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