Former SA accountant sentenced to 10 years imprisonment
A former accountant has been sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment after pleading guilty to 17 counts of aggravated deception and one count of dishonest dealings with documents.
The founder of Charterhill Group, George Nowak, was sentenced in the District Court of South Australia to 10 years of imprisonment with a non-parole period of six years and three months.
Charterhill operated as a one-stop shop for SMSF clients, providing financial advice on everything to do with establishing and running SMSFs.
Part way through his criminal trial, Nowak pleaded guilty to 17 counts of aggravated deception and one count of dishonest dealings with documents, all linked to his conduct dealing with members of SMSFs.
It was found that the SMSFs were undertaking property purchases offered by companies of which Nowak was a director, including EJ Property Developments.
The charges against Nowak concerned misappropriation of $1.2 million in SMSF money. ASIC explained that Nowak failed to hold the funds in a designated account and did not apply funds towards the intended property purchases in the period between December 2012 and December 2013.
In delivering the sentence, Judge Sophie David described the offending as of the utmost seriousness.
She noted that the fraud had a significant impact on the victims’ lives and was perpetuated in order to fund a lavish lifestyle.
“Mr Nowak deliberately misled his clients and used their funds for his own benefit,” said ASIC commissioner Danielle Press.
“Mr Nowak dishonestly and deliberately breached his clients’ trust. The Court’s sentence reflects the seriousness of this conduct and the impact it had on Mr Nowak’s clients.”
Following his conviction, Nowak is automatically disqualified from managing a corporation for five years.