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16-118MR Former company director sentenced to 2 years and 9 months jail for fraudulent misappropriation
Following an ASIC investigation, former company director Steven William Hill has today been sentenced in the Sydney District Court to 2 years and 9 months imprisonment, with a minimum of 1 year and 9 months to be served before becoming eligible for parole.
ASIC alleged that between January 2006 to February 2007, Mr Hill, through Hill Stephens & Associates Pty Ltd and International Finance Consortium (Aust) Pty Ltd induced various investors to pay approximately $618,000 to acquire interests in a 'house and land' property development located in Queensland (refer: 13-146MR, 15-050MR and 16-072MR).
The defendant was found guilty of fraudulently misappropriating $281,000 of the invested funds, which were directed to company bank accounts to make payments to Mr Hill and other third parties.
ASIC Commissioner Greg Tanzer said, 'Mr Hill's actions betrayed the trust of his investors and caused them significant financial harm. Today's sentence showed such behaviour will not be tolerated.'
The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
ASIC investigations reveal that between January 2006 and February 2007, Mr Hill met with various investors based in New South Wales. Describing himself as a 'financier/consultant', Mr Hill, through his company Hill Stephens & Associates Pty Ltd, told investors he would be able to provide them with investment opportunities to build their wealth towards retirement.
Mr Hill reviewed the financial circumstances of investors, recommended they set up a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) for investment, referred investors to a solicitor to establish a SMSF, elicited establishment fees and instructed investors to deposit their funds to his company bank accounts. Mr Hill advised investors their funds would be used as 'seed capital' in a number of Queensland based property developments he was facilitating. Mr Hill advised investors that they would receive returns of between 10 - 30% per annum, however, unknown to the investors, funds paid were not invested in the property developments as originally advised by Mr Hill.
In June 2013 Mr Hill was charged with eight counts of fraudulent misappropriation (refer: 13-146MR).
In March 2015 Mr Hill was ordered to stand trial on seven counts of fraudulent misappropriation (refer: 15-050MR).
In March 2016 Mr Hill was convicted on 6 counts of fraudulent misappropriation by a Sydney District Court jury after a four-week trial. (refer: 16-072MR).
Mr Hill was found not guilty of one charge of fraudulently misappropriating $150,000.
Editor's note 1:
On 13 May 2016, Mr Hill filed a Notice of Intention to Appeal his conviction and sentence in the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal. The application for leave to appeal was filed on 15 March 2017.
An application for release on bail was filed in the Supreme Court of NSW in August 2016. It was heard in December 2016 and refused. A further release application was filed in the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal in April 2017. The hearing of the release application and appeal on conviction and sentence has been set down for 31 May 2017.
Editor's note 2:
On 31 May 2017, the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal heard Mr Hill's application for leave to appeal his conviction and sentence. The Court reserved its decision and refused bail pending the decision on the application for leave to appeal.
Editor's note 3:
On 21 June 2017, the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal dismissed Mr Hill's appeal against conviction. The Court also refused leave to appeal against sentence.