Sydney woman pleads guilty in property investment case

A Sydney woman has been refused bail after pleading guilty to charges relating to SMSFs, property and dealing with client funds that were proceeds of crime.

Following an ASIC investigation, Ms Sarah Jane Busteed of Sydney has pleaded guilty in the NSW District Court to two charges that she dishonestly obtained client funds and to one charge of dealing with over $100,000 of client funds that were the proceeds of crime.

In a public statement, ASIC said that Ms Busteed also admitted her guilt in respect of a fourth charge that she dishonestly obtained client funds. This will be also be taken into account when she is sentenced, the regulator said.

The charges to which Ms Busteed has pleaded guilty alleged that she provided services to individuals and SMSFs on property investments.

“On various dates in 2012, Ms Busteed dishonestly and by deception obtained $57,000 from a law firm and $36,000 from a client’s SMSF account, and also dealt with $163,968 obtained from that client’s SMSF account which she knew to be the proceeds of crime,” the corporate regulator said.

“It is alleged that the funds were used for various purposes, including for Ms Busteed’s personal expenses.”

The two charges of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception contrary to section 192E of the NSW Crimes Act 1900 each carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment.

The one charge of dealing in the proceeds of crime contrary to section 400.4(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code carries a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment or a $132,000 fine or both, as it applied at the time of the offences.

She was refused bail and a sentencing hearing has been listed for 21 June 2018 in the NSW District Court.

Ms Busteed has already been sentenced for other offences involving dishonestly obtaining financial advantage in NSW and is serving a custodial term.

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