In the wake of an ASIC investigation, former company director Steven William Hill has been sentenced to two years and nine months in jail, with a minimum of one year and nine months to be served before he is eligible for parole.
It was alleged that between January 2006 and February 2007, Hill, through Hill Stephens & Associates Pty Ltd and International Finance Consortium (Aust) Pty Ltd, induced investors to pay approximately $618,000 to acquire interests in a 'house and land' property development in Queensland.
Hill was found guilty in March of fraudulently misappropriating $281,000 of the invested funds, which were directed to company bank accounts to make payments to Hill and other third parties. Hill was found guilty on six counts of fraudulent misappropriation after a four-week trial at Sydney Crown Court.
“Mr Hill's actions betrayed the trust of his investors and caused them significant financial harm,” said ASIC commissioner Greg Tanzer. “Today's sentence showed such behaviour will not be tolerated.”
One of Hill’s victims, who wishes only to be known as ‘Sarah’, said, “He's shown no remorse, basically, and admitted to no guilt, so I think other people, like the jury, finding him guilty is finally closure to it.
“It's taken away the security of myself, the security for my family – like other options that might have been available where you can utilise your super later on in life – that's all gone.”
ASIC found that Hill reviewed the financial circumstances of investors, recommended they set up a self-managed superannuation
) for investment, referred investors to a solicitor to establish an SMSF, elicited establishment fees and instructed investors to deposit their funds to his company bank accounts. Hill advised investors their funds would be used as 'seed capital' in a number of Queensland-based property developments he was facilitating. Hill advised investors that they would receive returns of 10-30% per annum, however, unknown to the investors, funds paid were not invested in the property developments as originally advised by Mr Hill.
He was subsequently charged with eight counts of fraudulent misappropriation in June 2013. In March 2015, Hill was ordered to stand trial on seven counts of fraudulent misappropriation before his conviction in March of this year. Hill was found not guilty of one charge of fraudulently misappropriating $150,000.