Mr Glyn Leonard Raines, the former Chief Financial Officer of Hastie Services Pty Limited, (Hastie Services) (in external administration) has been sentenced to two years imprisonment to be served by way of an intensive corrections order on charges brought by ASIC.
Mr Raines' sentence was finalised on 20 October 2017 in the District Court of New South Wales, having earlier pleaded guilty to two charges of conspiracy to falsify the books and records of Hastie Services and one charge of conspiracy to give false or misleading information to an auditor.
In sentencing Mr Raines, Judge Whitford said, 'On any view, the offending is objectively serious. There was no issue concerning that conclusion on sentence. It involved relatively senior managers within the corporate structure of a listed entity conspiring both to falsify the company books and to mislead and deceive the company auditors'.
'[He] must have been acutely conscious of the impropriety of his conduct and, even if they were not intended, the serious consequences to which conduct that character could reasonably rise, both for the company directly and more broadly for its parent, the parent's company's shareholders and the market generally.'
Judge Whitford took into account Mr Raines' 'significant degree of contrition' and 'considerable and extensive co-operation' with ASIC's investigation.
This decision follows the sentencing on 24 August 2017 of co-conspirator Samantha Kate Cousins, a former finance manager of Hastie Services, in the District Court of Queensland. Ms Cousins had earlier pleaded guilty to two charges of conspiracy to falsify the books and records of Hastie Services and one charge of conspiracy to give false or misleading information to an auditor.
She was released on immediate recognizance on condition of good behaviour for two years and security of $1,000.
ASIC Commissioner John Price said, 'The accuracy and reliability of financial reports is crucial to ensuring all who read the reports are properly informed. ASIC will ensure that company officers who deliberately act to falsify books and records, in an attempt to mislead the public, will be brought to account'.
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions prosecuted both matters.
Hastie Services was a subsidiary of Hastie Group Ltd (in external administration), a company formerly listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. Hastie Group and a number of its subsidiaries including Hastie Services were placed in external administration on 28 May 2012.
Both Ms Cousins and Mr Raines admitted that:
- between 7 November 2008 and about 30 June 2011, both Ms Cousins and Mr Raines conspired with two other senior staff members of Hastie Services to make false entries into the books of the company to reduce the 'gap' between the forecast Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) and the actual EBIT;
- between 5 May 2010 and about 13 February 2011, Ms Cousins and Mr Raines conspired with the same two senior staff members of Hastie Services to make false entries into the books of Hastie Services in order to conceal the true financial position of Hastie Services' Western Australia branch; and
- between 17 June 2010 and about 9 April 2011, Ms Cousins and Mr Raines conspired with the same two senior staff members of Hastie Services to provide false information to the auditors of Hastie Group Limited to conceal the above offending.