The banned former director of a group of companies that operated a ‘one-stop shop’ providing SMSF advice to clients has been sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.
In a statement, ASIC said George Nowak, founder of the Charterhill group of companies, was sentenced in the District Court of South Australia to 10 years' imprisonment with a non-parole period of six years and three months on 2 April.
Nowak had pleaded guilty partway through his trial to 17 counts of aggravated deception and one count of dishonest dealings with documents. The offences related to Nowak's dealings with SMSF members undertaking property purchases offered by companies of which he was a director.
The charges concerned the misappropriation of $1.2 million of member funds. Nowak had failed to hold the funds in a designated account and did not apply funds towards the intended property purchases in the period between December 2012 and December 2013, ASIC said.
In delivering the sentence, Judge Sophie David noted that the fraud had a significant impact on the victims’ lives and was perpetuated in order to fund a lavish lifestyle.
ASIC commissioner Danielle Press said Nowak deliberately misled his clients and used their funds for his own benefit.
"Mr Nowak dishonestly and deliberately breached his clients’ trust," Ms Press said.
"The court’s sentence reflects the seriousness of this conduct and the impact it had on Mr Nowak’s clients."
Nowak was banned from managing a corporation for five years as a result of his sentence, and had previously been banned from providing financial services in 2015 after it was discovered he had applied for personal bankruptcy in 2014.
The Charterhill group of companies, including Lending Solutions International, Nova Real Estate, EJ Property Developments and Financial Wellness, had operated as a 'one-stop shop', providing advice to clients on the establishment of SMSFs, rollover of existing superannuation funds into an SMSF, sourcing and purchase of investment properties, property management, insurance and taxation.
They have since been placed under external control.
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