ASIC extracts guilty pleas from pre-insolvency advisers

The corporate cop has secured a much needed win after two pre-insolvency advisers pleaded guilty to money laundering.

In a statement yesterday ASIC said that Stephen O’Neill of Port Melbourne, Victoria and John Narramore, of Main Beach Queensland had both pleaded guilty in the Brisbane District Court to one charge of dealing in the proceeds of crime.

The hapless client who engaged them – Cap Coast Telecoms director Richard Ludwig – has yet to enter a plea on one count of intentionally dealing in proceeds of crime and 10 counts of breaching his directors’ duties.

The fact that the pair convicted themselves is a good outcome for ASIC given how difficult it is to prosecute breaches of law associated with pre-insolvency or illegal phoenix conduct.

The regulator however had help in the first instance in the form of an unfunded supplementary report from Cap Coast’s liquidator Mark Hutchins.

The Cor Cordis partner was appointed in January 2015 after being referred the job by O’Neill, who identified himself as Steve Marks.

Using this alias O’Neill acted as a pre-insolvency advisor offering asset protection services for distressed directors under the banner SME’s R Us.

In Ludwig’s case the protection involved companies associated with O’Neill and Narramore issuing invoices for payment for services never rendered.

Ludwig then dishonestly authorised $743,050 in payments for the bogus services from Cap Coast’s bank account.

The recipient entities then repaid the monies direct to Ludwig “or his associates”.

Once the skim was complete Cap Coast was placed into liquidation owing creditors almost $3 million.

iNO sought comment from Hutchins to learn how he had come to decide to undertake unfunded investigations. He did not respond by deadline. Please take a moment to support INO’s continued chronicling of the insolvency sector.

Further reading:

Referrer Role Confers No Immunity

About the Author

Peter Gosnell
Insolvency News Online illuminates the practice of insolvency Australia-wide, highlighting the triumphs and travails of the nation’s registered practitioners and the accounting and legal professionals who work with them. INO is produced by Peter Gosnell, former business editor and senior business reporter at The Daily Telegraph newspaper. During a decade-long career, your correspondent reported on such notable corporate collapses as HIH, One.Tel, Westpoint and Fincorp as well as some of the nation's highest profile bankruptcies and the investigations and prosecutions arising from Australia's most notorious instances of white-collar crime.

1 Comment on "ASIC extracts guilty pleas from pre-insolvency advisers"

  1. oh so sophisticated! Well done pre-insolvency boys. Excellent advice as far as pre-insolvency advisers go.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*