A swag of criminal charges has been levelled against four directors of the failed Members Alliance group and the company’s lawyer following an investigation by the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce (SFCT) and the corporate watchdog ASIC.
The charges stem from the 2016 collapse of Members Alliance and Benchmark groups which allegedly operated property investment vehicles on the Gold Coast offering financial advice to retail investors.
The group is alleged by police to have been running a cold-calling scam from its former Robina headquarters enticing retail investors to buy into properties, some of which were never completed. The collapse is alleged to have led to $2.2 million in losses for more than 40 mum and dad investors.
The Members Alliance group comprised a network of more than 50 companies, with 18 of them placed into liquidation in 2016 owing $26 million to the Australian Taxation Office.
Former directors of the Members Alliance Group – Richard Marlborough, Colin MacVicar, David Domingo and Liam Young – in addition to company lawyer John Ramsden appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates Court today charged with criminal offences relating to the collapse of the group in 2016 and 2017.
The SFCT investigation, which focused on alleged associated phoenix activity, has resulted in a total of 72 criminal charges against the defendants.
Marlborough is charged with 21 counts of trading while insolvent, 10 counts of dishonestly using his position as a director, one count of disposing of property after becoming (or was about to be) a bankrupt and one count of fraud.
MacVicar faces 13 counts of trading while insolvent, one count of dishonestly using his position as a director and one count of disposing of property after becoming (or was about to be) a bankrupt.
Young, who was a director of five Benchmark companies, is charged with four counts of trading while insolvent and five counts of dishonestly using his position as a director, while Domingo, the former CEO of the Members Alliance group, has been charged with seven counts of trading while insolvent.
Ramsden, the solicitor for Members Alliance at the time, has been charged with aiding Marlborough, MacVicar and Young in their alleged directors duties offences.
He faces eight counts of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of an offence in contravention of the Corporations Act.
The matter has been listed for a mention hearing on 26 November 2021.
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