media release (23-289MR)

Former Ralan Group managing director pleads guilty to fraud


William O’Dwyer, the former managing director of companies in the Ralan Group, has pleaded guilty to six offences contrary to section 192E of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) following an ASIC investigation.

Between about 17 April 2015 and 6 June 2018, Mr O’Dwyer, by deception, dishonestly obtained for companies in the Ralan Group the ability to draw down on finance facilities totalling $251 million.

The Ralan Group sold, developed, and managed real estate properties from 2014 to 2019 and was based in Sydney.

The charges relate to loans advanced to Group companies involved in residential development projects in Sydney, Arncliffe, Turramurra and Gordon. As part of the loan agreements, the companies were required to satisfy lenders that pre-sale deposits paid by purchasers of residences in the developments were held in trust before draw down on the loans could occur.

Mr O’Dwyer deceived the lenders into believing that the pre-sale deposits were held in a trust account, when in fact they had been loaned by the purchasers back to the respective development company for use as working capital. 

Approximately $132 million was drawn down upon the facilities, with approximately $47 million repaid by the time the companies in the Ralan Group went into administration in July 2019. A further amount is expected to be recouped by the lenders following their purchase and development of the Arncliffe property.

Mr O’Dwyer first appeared in the Downing Centre Local Court on 25 July 2023.

Mr O’Dwyer pleaded guilty to the charges on 22 August 2023 in the Downing Centre Local Court. A sentencing hearing is listed in the New South Wales District Court on 7 December 2023.

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


In July 2019 the companies in the Ralan Group entered voluntary administration and all were placed in liquidation by 6 March 2020.

In November 2019 the liquidator of the companies, Said Jahani at Grant Thornton, estimated that the Ralan Group owed unsecured creditors $323 million.

The maximum penalty for each offence is 10 years imprisonment.

Editor's note:

A sentencing hearing was conducted in the New South Wales District Court on 7 and 12 December 2023. Mr O’Dwyer will be sentenced on 2 February 2024 at the Sydney Downing Centre.

Media enquiries: Contact ASIC Media Unit