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Wednesday 24 May 2023

23-135MR Former managing director Holly Grofski convicted of criminal charges

Former managing director of Global Merces Funds Management Ltd (in liquidation) Ms Holly Marie Grofski has been sentenced to offences involving the falsification of documents and the provision of false information to an auditor.

Following her guilty pleas, Ms Grofski was convicted and sentenced in the Brisbane District Court. Ms Grofski was sentenced on each count to six months imprisonment to be released immediately upon entering a recognisance in the amount of $1,000, on the condition that she be of good behaviour for 18 months.

In her role as director of Global Merces, Ms Grofski created a ‘loan agreement’ purporting to show that Global Merces had received a loan of $500,000. The loan agreement was a false document which had not been executed. Ms Grofski arranged for the transfer of $500,000 of investor funds into the Global Merces operating account.

Ms Grofski also provided the falsified loan agreement and evidence of the $500,000 account balance to the auditors of Global Merces. Ms Grofski did so to convince the auditors that they did not need to raise concerns about the solvency of Global Merces, an Australian financial services licensee, with ASIC.

Ms Grofski did not have authorisation to use $500,000 of investor funds for this purpose. Shortly after providing the auditors with evidence of the account balance of Global Merces’ operating fund, Ms Grofski transferred the $500,000 out of that account and they were invested in accordance with the investor’s instructions.

As a result of her dishonesty-based convictions, Ms Grofski will be automatically disqualified as a company director for five years.

The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions following an investigation and referral by ASIC.

Background

On 28 October 2021, Ms Grofski pleaded guilty to one count of providing false information to the auditors of Global Merces and one count of engaging in conduct resulting in the falsification of books and records relating to the affairs of Global Merces.

On 21 January 2020, ASIC suspended the Australian financial service (AFS) licence of Global Merces for a period of six months (20-012MR).

On 31 January 2020, following an application by ASIC, the Federal Court ordered that Global Merces be wound up (20-022MR).

On 20 July 2020, ASIC cancelled the AFS licence of Global Merces (20-181MR).