Gold Coast property investment fraudster sentenced to 8.5 years in jail

Gold Coast property investment fraudster sentenced to 8.5 years in jail

Following an investigation by the nation’s corporate watchdog, former Gold Coast investment scheme promoter Anthony Keith Silver has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison for scamming almost $2 million from pensioners.

Silver was the shadow director of Capital Growth International Club Pty Ltd (CGIC) and All About Property Developments Pty Ltd (AAPD), which raised approximately $9 million from investors between 2008 and 2010 before falling into liquidation.

He pleaded guilty to misappropriating $1.815 million from both scheme companies between April 2009 and June 2010 by transferring funds to his personal bank account, making payments to company employees and paying returns to other investors. The court set Silver’s non-parole period to two and a half years.

The scam was run by Anthony Silver and his son Bradley, who was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison in 2019 after pleading guilty to dishonesty offences totalling more than $4.7 million.

Bradley has since been released from jail, as in May 2020 the Queensland Court of Appeal ordered he be released on a recognizance of $2,000 after serving two and a half years’ imprisonment, in lieu of the non-parole period of two and a half years imposed by the sentencing judge. 

According to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), many of their investors were pensioners, who were approached to invest in the scheme companies by cold-call telemarketing or word of mouth.

In the pitch, investors were told their funds would be used to develop property in Tasmania or be pooled and invested in bank term deposits, which in turn would reap returns of 15 to 20 per cent.  

The scheme was run with the help of former Westpac (ASX: WBC) home finance manager David St Pierre, who was sentenced to three years imprisonment in 2017 after pleading guilty to the dishonest use of his position concerning his role in submitting false loan applications to obtain more than $2.5 million for Westpac customers to invest in both scheme companies.

An investigation by ASIC found that between July 2008 and July 2010, Bradley Silver dishonestly induced Westpac to deliver property in the amount of $2,763,000 to Westpac customers investing in CGIC and AAPD.

The probe further revealed that between April 2009 and May 2010, while Bradley was a director of CGIC and associated with AAPD, he dishonestly used his position with the intention of causing a detriment to the amount of $2,015,000. 

In early 2011, both CGIC and AAPD were placed into liquidation owing investors approximately $9 million.

Retired NSW Nationals Senator John Williams raised concerns about reverse mortgages with Westpac, highlighting the behaviour of Bradley Silver and David St Pierre during a Senate enquiry in 2012.

“I’m glad that some of the victims of Bradley Silver got to see justice done…it’s been a long road, but it was clear from the start that Silver and his acquaintances were taking advantage of the elderly,” Williams said at the time of Bradley Silver’s sentencing in September 2019.

“In my opinion, it was an investment scheme destined to fail.”

In early 2017, St Pierre was sentenced to three years imprisonment after pleading guilty to dishonest use of his position.

ASIC permanently banned St Pierre from engaging in credit activities and providing financial services on 12 March 2014. That same year, Westpac offered to remediate investors in the scheme companies who had contact with St Pierre before investing.

The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. 

ASIC investigations into the scheme companies are ongoing. 

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