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20-299MR Former Queensland property developer Craig Gore sentenced
On 26 November 2020, Mr Craig Kirrin Gore was sentenced to five years imprisonment with a non-parole period of two years. Mr Gore was previously found guilty following a five-day, judge-alone trial at the Brisbane District Court (20-258MR).
Mr Gore was found guilty of six counts of fraud involving amounts totalling $345,000.
Mr Gore was initially arrested on 14 April 2017 after being charged with fraud relating to obtaining funds from self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) investors during 2013 and 2014.
ASIC’s case focussed on Mr Gore obtaining funds from SMSF investors through his role at Arion Financial Pty Ltd. Investors were presented with information that they could invest in debentures, with various promises that included a guaranteed return, high returns, and that the funds could be returned after a short-term period of investment.
Upon sentencing, Judge Byrne remarked that SMSF investors legitimately save and invest for their retirement and that it is an aggravating factor that these funds were being targeted. Judge Byrne further noted deterrent sentences are necessary to reassure SMSF investors that those convicted of dishonestly dealing with their funds will be punished accordingly.
ASIC Commissioner Sean Hughes said ‘ASIC will continue to pursue criminal cases of fraud to take action against dishonest conduct especially where savings for retirement are at risk.’
The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions after an investigation and referral of a prosecution brief by ASIC.
Prior to sentencing, Mr Gore lodged an appeal for the earlier guilty verdict. No dates have been set for the appeal.
On 14 April 2017, Mr Gore was arrested for allegedly defrauding between 2013 and 2014, five self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) investors of approximately $800,000 (17-116MR).
Managing while disqualified
Mr Gore also faces three charges of acting in the management of three corporations (MOGS Pty Ltd, Sleipner Financial Pty Ltd and Arion) while disqualified from doing so. Those matters did not form part of the fraud trial and will return to the Magistrates Court for mention on 27 November 2020.
The charges of acting in the management of corporations whilst disqualified each carry a maximum penalty of one-year imprisonment or 50 penalty units.
On 17 November 2020, Mr Gore filed a notice to appeal the verdict handed down on 27 October 2020. The matter will be heard on 23 February 2021 at the Queensland Court of Appeal.
Editor’s note 2:
The next hearing regarding the charges of acting in the management of corporations whilst disqualified will be 26 March 2021 at the Brisbane Magistrates’ Court.
Editors note 3:
Mr Gore’s appeal against the guilty verdict was heard on 23 February 2021 with a decision reserved to a date not yet fixed.
Editor's note 4:
The mention of the charges of acting in the management of corporations whilst disqualified was adjourned to 23 April 2021 at the Brisbane Magistrates’ Court.