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Friday 10 September 2021

21-242MR Lawyer and former company officers associated with Members Alliance and Benchmark groups facing 72 criminal charges

On 10 September 2021, Mr Richard Marlborough, Mr Colin MacVicar, Mr David Domingo, Mr Liam Young and Mr John Ramsden appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates Court charged with criminal offences relating to the collapse of the Members Alliance and Benchmark group of companies in 2016 and 2017.

The Members Alliance and Benchmark groups allegedly operated property investment vehicles on the Gold Coast, offering financial advice to retail investors.  In July 2016, eighteen group companies were placed into liquidation with a $26 million debt owing to the ATO.

The charges follow an ASIC-led Serious Financial Crime Taskforce (SFCT) investigation into the collapse of the groups and alleged associated phoenix activity.

Mr Marlborough has been charged with:

  • 21 counts of trading while insolvent;
  • 10 counts of dishonestly using his position as a director;
  • one count of disposing of property after becoming (or was about to be) a bankrupt; and
  • one count of fraud.

Mr MacVicar has been charged with:

  • 13 counts of trading while insolvent;
  • one count of dishonestly using his position as a director; and
  • one count of disposing of property after becoming (or was about to be) a bankrupt.

Mr Young has been charged with:

  • four counts of trading while insolvent; and
  • five counts of dishonestly using his position as a director.

Mr Domingo has been charged with seven counts of trading while insolvent.

Mr Ramsden acted as a solicitor for the Members Alliance group and has been charged with aiding Mr Marlborough, Mr MacVicar and Mr Young in their alleged directors duties offences. He faces eight counts of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of an offence in contravention of the Corporations Act.

The matter has been listed for a mention hearing on 26 November 2021.

The matter is being prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions after a brief and referral from ASIC.

Background

Mr Marlborough, Mr MacVicar, and Mr Domingo were at various times directors of companies in the Members Alliance group.  Mr Young was a director of five Benchmark companies set up following the collapse of the Members Alliance group in mid-2016.

The SFCT focusses on investigations of cybercrime affecting the tax and superannuation systems, offshore tax evasion, illegal phoenix activity and more recently, crime against the Commonwealth’s Coronavirus Economic Response Package. Since it was established on 1 July 2015 until 30 June 2021, more than $1 billion in liabilities has been raised as a result of its work, which has included over 1,300 audits and reviews and the conviction of 15 individuals.

For more information on the SFCT, including the new identikit outlining key financial crime personas, visit ato.gov.au/SFCT

Last updated: 10/09/2021 10:06