Property spruiker charged with fraud

A property spruiker has been charged on counts of fraudulent misappropriation, with an investigation alleging he recommended investors set up SMSFs for property investment, according to an announcement from the regulator.

An Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) investigation alleges Steven William Hill met with various NSW-based investors, recommending they establish SMSFs for investment in the development of a number of house and land packages in Queensland.

ASIC alleged that between 5 January 2006 and 6 March 2007, Mr Hill through Hill Stephens & Associates and International Finance Consortium “dishonestly induced” investors to pay approximately $618,000 to acquire interests in a Queensland house and land property development.

It is alleged that investors never received the returns promised, and that $431,000 of the invested funds was directed to company bank accounts to make payments to Mr Hill and other third parties.

Mr Hill has appeared before the Bathurst Magistrates Court charged with eight counts of fraudulent misappropriation, ASIC stated. The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is prosecuting the matter.

The case was adjourned for further mention on 26 August 2013 with the court granting Mr Hill bail, which includes a residential requirement and prohibits him from approaching any points of international departure from Australia.

Chair of the Property Investment Professionals of Australia (PIPA) Ben Kingsley previously told SMSF Adviser there is “no doubt” that property spruikers have become more active in encouraging investors to set up an SMSF for the purpose of buying property.

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