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23-017MR Don George Evans sentenced for conspiring to manipulate Quantum shares
On 31 January 2023, Don George Evans of Woodlands, Western Australia, was sentenced in the Supreme Court of Western Australia to 12 months' imprisonment. Mr Evans will be released immediately upon entering into a recognisance of $5000, to be of good behaviour for two years.
Mr Evans was sentenced for conspiring with former Quantum Resources Limited director Avrohom Kimelman and corporate consultant Benjamin Heath Cooper to push Quantum shares to a pre-determined price.
Quantum Resources is now known as Nova Minerals Limited.
Mr Evans was introduced to then-Quantum director Mr Kimelman by Mr Cooper, whose firm, Cooper Corporate & Consulting Pty Ltd, had been engaged by Quantum as a consultant.
The Court found that on 16 November 2015, Mr Evans, along with Mr Cooper and Mr Kimelman, used an online group chat to coordinate a series of trades in Quantum shares, with the purpose of artificially increasing the Quantum share price and encouraging additional investor activity.
ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court said, ‘The sentencing decision finalises our suite of actions in relation to the manipulation of Quantum shares in November 2015, with each of the people the subject of charges being sentenced to terms of imprisonment.
‘ASIC is committed to acting against conduct that damages the integrity of Australia’s markets. Market manipulation undermines investor confidence and ASIC will take strong and considered action to combat it.’
In sentencing, Justice McGrath noted the need to impose a sentence which would deter others who might be tempted to engage in similar unlawful conduct. Justice McGrath noted, ‘Compliance with [the prohibition on market manipulation] is vital to maintain market integrity and promoting the confident and informed participation of investors in the financial market operated by the ASX.’
As a result of his conviction, Mr Evans is automatically disqualified from managing corporations for five years.
The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions after a referral from ASIC.
Mr Evans and Mr Kimelman were first charged with conspiring to commit market manipulation on 25 September 2020 (20-223MR). Mr Kimelman was sentenced on 9 November 2021 (21-297MR).
Mr Evans pleaded guilty to conspiring to manipulate the price of Quantum shares on 5 August 2022 (22-208MR).
Mr Cooper was charged for his role in the conspiracy on 12 March 2021 (21-050MR) and was sentenced on 9 December 2022 (22-354MR).