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15-397MR Carrum Downs couple committed for trial over $1.5 million fraud
Following a three day committal hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court, Mrs Maureen Gael Johnston and Mr Douglas Gordon Johnston, both of Carrum Downs, Victoria have been committed for trial in the Victorian County Court on numerous fraud and deception charges.
Following an ASIC investigation, the Johnstons were charged with a total of more than 70 offences including fraud and obtaining a financial advantage or property by deception for their involvement with Investman Nominees (USA) Pty Ltd and Small Business Management Pty Ltd (refer: 14-298MR).
Through their close association with the Collingwood Football Club the Johnstons allegedly misled club supporters into investing approximately $1.5 million into various property developments purportedly in the USA or Australia. ASIC alleges the funds raised by the Johnstons were not used to develop any properties, but were instead used in part for gambling at the Melbourne Crown Casino, paying personal credit card debts and to make interest payments to investors in a Ponzi style operation.
Mr & Mrs Johnston both entered a plea of not guilty and were released on bail, with the matter listed for a Directions Hearing on 18 January 2016 at 9am at the Victorian County Court.
On 18 January 2016, a trial date was set down in the Victorian County Court for 23 January 2017.
Editor's note 2:
On 23 December 2016, the trial set down for 23 January 2017 was vacated. A new trial date was set for 5 February 2018.
Editor's note 3:
On 20 December 2017, Mrs Maureen Johnston pleaded guilty in the County Court of Victoria to three counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception totalling $1,027,000.
Mrs Johnston will appear for a plea hearing on 7 February 2018.
The trial for Mr Douglas Johnston has been adjourned until after Mrs Johnston's plea has been dealt with. A mention of the matter will take place on 20 March 2018.
Editor's note 4:
On 7 February 2018, the plea hearing for Mrs Johnston was adjourned until 15 May 2018 as more time was required for Mrs Johnston to complete further medical testing.
The mention date for Douglas Johnston was rescheduled to 7 June 2018.
Editor's note 5:
The plea hearing for Maureen Johnston was administratively adjourned by the Court and is now listed for a mention on 7 June 2018, the same date as Douglas Johnston.
Editors Note 6:
The mention hearing for Maureen Johnston set down for 7 June 2018 was adjourned until 16 July 2018 with an Order that all relevant medical reports be filed by this date. A date for Maureen Johnston's plea hearing was also set down for 25 July 2015. Mrs Johnston's bail was extended until 16 July 2018.
Doug Johnston's matter was also listed for a further mention on 15 August 2018.
Editor's note 7:
On 25 July 2018, Maureen Johnston appeared for a plea hearing before Judge Wilmoth. A number of medical reports were tendered as evidence with submissions made outlining the facts of the case and the nature and gravity of the offending.
The plea hearing was adjourned and is set to resume on 5 September 2018 so closing submissions can be heard.
Doug Johnston's matter which was listed for a mention on 15 August 2018, has been adjourned until after the plea hearing.
Editor's note 8:
Maureen Johnston’s plea hearing was adjourned to 15 October 2018 for a mention, following a request by the Crown to cross examine the doctors who provided medical reports in this matter. A trial date for Doug Johnston was set down for 24 April 2019.
Editor’s note 9:
Maureen Johnston’s plea hearing adjourned to 14 November 2018 for final plea submissions.
Editor's note 10:
Maureen Johnston is to be sentenced at 9.30am on 20 December 2018.
Editor's note 11:
On 20 December 2018, Mrs Maureen Johnston was sentenced in the County Court of Victoria to five years and six months imprisonment (18-391MR).