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21-296MR Former telecommunications director pleads guilty to breaching directors’ duties and dealing with the proceeds of crime
Richard Ludwig, of Broadbeach Waters, Queensland, has pleaded guilty to intentionally dealing with the proceeds of crime and 10 counts of breaching his directors’ duties, after engaging in activity that involved illegally removing company assets to prevent creditor access.
Mr Ludwig was charged on 1 March 2019, following an investigation by ASIC (19-047MR).
Mr Ludwig was a director of Cap Coast Telecoms Pty Ltd, which operated a number of telecommunication stores in Queensland. He sought advice from Stephen O’Neill and John Narramore of pre-insolvency firm SME’s R Us to provide advice and assistance regarding a dispute with a creditor of Cap Coast Telecoms.
Mr Narramore and Mr O’Neill devised an asset protection strategy which involved issuing fictitious invoices by companies under their control to Cap Coast Telecoms for services that were never provided.
Between October 2014 and January 2015, Mr Ludwig paid the fictitious invoices by illegally transferring $743,050 from Cap Coast Telecoms to the companies controlled by Mr Narramore and Mr O’Neill. This was done to ensure creditors did not have access to these funds. Mr Narramore and Mr O’Neill then transferred the funds to Mr Ludwig or his associates.
Once the funds had been transferred, Cap Coast Telecoms was wound up. At the time, it owed creditors $2,955,128.
The matter was referred to ASIC through an unfunded supplementary report by the liquidator of Cap Coast Telecoms, Mr Mark Hutchins of Cor Cordis.
Mr Ludwig pleaded guilty on 1 November 2021 before the District Court of Queensland and was remanded in custody. He will be sentenced on 2 December 2021.
The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
Mr Narramore and Mr O’Neill had previously each pleaded guilty to one breach of s400.4(2) of the Criminal Code Act (Cth) 1995 for intentionally dealing with the proceeds of crime.
In November 2019, Mr Narramore was sentenced to four and a half years prison, with a non-parole period of 20 months (19-307MR).
In February 2020, Mr O’Neill was sentenced to five years in prison, with a non-parole period of 22 months (20-050MR).
Intentionally dealing with the proceeds of crime is an offence under the Criminal Code Act (Cth) 1995 and carries a maximum penalty of 1200 penalty units or imprisonment for 20 years, or both.
Breaching director duties is an offence under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and, at the time of the offending, carried a maximum penalty of 200 penalty units or imprisonment for five years, or both.