Ex-Courtenay House contractor slapped with two-year prison term

The NSW man received commissions totalling $670,860

Ex-Courtenay House contractor slapped with two-year prison term


By Mina Martin

A former contractor to and promoter of Courtenay House investments has been sentenced to two years’ imprisonment and was ordered to complete 120 hours of community service for his role in the unlicensed financial services business.

Athan Papoulias, of Brighton Le Sands, NSW, will serve his prison term by way of an intensive corrections order, after pleading guilty to one charge of carrying on an unlicensed financial services business, reckless about the fact that the business did not have the required licence, and one charge of dealing in the proceeds of crime worth $100,000 or more, reckless as to it being derived from the carrying on if an unlicensed financial services business.

During the period from November 2, 2016, to April 21, 2017, Papoulias received a total of $670,860 in commissions for promoting investments in Courtenay House.

In May 2017, liquidators were appointed to the Courtenay House companies and the director, Tony Iervasi, was restricted from leaving Australia. On November 8, 2022, Iervasi pleaded guilty to five criminal charges, four of which included engaging in dishonest conduct from December 13, 2010, to April 21, 2017, in relation to $180 million raised by the Courtenay House companies from around 585 investors.

“The Courtenay House companies represented to investors that their funds would be traded in the Forex and Futures markets when only a small proportion of funds were traded,” ASIC said. “Instead, a Ponzi scheme was being run, with monthly amounts paid to investors from the capital invested by other investors, with Courtenay House falsely representing that these amounts were returns from trading. Mr Papoulias was not aware that the funds were used to fuel a Ponzi scheme.”

ASIC deputy chair Sarah Court said ASIC has taken civil action to freeze assets, assisted liquidators, and is now seeing justice for investors through the criminal court.

“To ensure a fair and strong financial system, and to protect consumers, financial services businesses need to be licensed,” Court said. “Those promoting unlicensed businesses should not assume they are immune from criminal consequences.”

Judge Michael McHugh said Papoulias’ actions had undermined public confidence in the regulatory regime of the financial services industry. McHugh also took into consideration Papoulias’ guilty plea.

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

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