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13-025MR Ponzi scheme operators jailed
Three men accused of operating a $30 million Ponzi scheme have been sentenced to jail.
Brian Wood, of Davistown, Jimmy Truong of St John’s Park, and Con Koutsoukos of Wiley Park, all pleaded guilty to various offences related to operating the scheme called the Integrity Plus Fund, including making false statements to investors. Mr Wood was also convicted of fraudulently misappropriating investors’ funds (refer: 12-120MR).
About 270 investors were caught up in the scheme.
Appearing in the Sydney District Court on 11 February 2013, Mr Wood was sentenced to 3 years 11 months imprisonment, to serve a minimum term of 2 years 6 months. Mr Truong and Mr Koutsoukos were both sentenced to 2 years 8 months imprisonment, to serve minimum terms of 2 years.
In handing down her decision, Judge Syme remarked on the progression of the men’s conduct.
‘The motive for the actions of each offender is clearly greed … the offences occurred over an extended period. Significant planning was involved to present the business as a legitimate and profitable one and to entice investors into the scheme via seminars,’ Judge Syme said.
The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
On 25 August 2014 the final witness provided his evidence, the parties closed their cases and made their closing submissions. Judgment has been reserved.
Prior to their jailing all three men entered into separate enforceable undertakings with ASIC not to provide financial services and to manage companies, for a combined total of 45 years.
ASIC Commissioner Greg Tanzer said, ‘This outcome sends a very clear message that those who misuse funds entrusted to them by others face serious consequences.’
Between December 2004 and December 2007 the Integrity Plus scheme raised more than $30 million from about 270 investors. ASIC obtained injunctions from the Supreme Court of NSW against Wood in December 2007, and Truong and Koutsoukos and others in February 2008, preventing the operation of Integrity Plus and securing funds for investors (refer: 07-326). In June 2008 the Integrity Plus Fund was wound up (refer: 08-129).
ASIC is also involved in related civil penalty proceedings against operators of more than a dozen offshore managed investment funds including the aforementioned Ponzi scheme (refer: 12-266MR). Penalties will be handed down in the NSW Supreme Court on 21 February 2013.