Queensland lender imprisoned

Ronald David Williams and Gary David Maile, former directors of Selection One Finance Pty Ltd (Selection One), were today sentenced in the Brisbane District Court after pleading guilty to breaches of director duties.

Mr Williams and Mr Maile pleaded guilty to one count each of failing to exercise their powers and discharge their duties as company directors in good faith in the best interests of the company and that their failure was intentionally dishonest.

Both Mr Williams and Mr Maile were sentenced to four years and three months' imprisonment with a non-parole period of 16 months.

ASIC had alleged that Messrs Williams and Maile operated a business through Selection One, which borrowed funds from investors for approximately 12 months at an interest rate of three per cent per month, or 36 per cent per annum.

Messrs Williams and Maile represented to investors that the funds would be on-lent to third parties as short-term loans at six per cent per month, thus allowing the high returns to investors.

The proportion of money actually on-lent to borrowers was very small compared to the amount of investor funds received.

Selection One's poor financial performance meant it was only able to survive by raising new investors' funds to pay the high rate of interest promised to its existing investors.

Selection One's poor performance was not disclosed to new or existing investors and Messrs Williams and Maile did not take any steps to alter or abandon the company's high-risk business model, continuing to encourage investors to invest in Selection One.

On 3 March 2009 Selection One was placed in voluntary administration with outstanding debts of approximately $20,915,330 owed to 88 investors.

ASIC commissioner Greg Tanzer said it was a fundamental responsibility of company directors to act honestly and in the interests of the company they govern.

"The jailing of Mr Williams and Mr Maile should send a clear message there are serious consequences for company directors who act dishonestly,” Mr Tanzer said.

“The investing public is entitled to expect that company directors are acting in their interests. ASIC will act to ensure that blatant breaches of directors' duties are pursued in the courts',” he said.

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions prosecuted the matter.

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