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Former director found guilty of 'fraudulent misappropriation'

A former company director who allegedly recommended investors set up SMSFs has been found guilty of six charges of fraudulent misappropriation.

ASIC alleged that between January 2006 and February 2007, Steven William Hill – through Hill Stephens & Associates Pty Ltd and International Finance Consortium (Aust) Pty Ltd – induced various investors to pay approximately $618,000 to acquire interests in a house and land property development in Queensland.

“It was alleged that Mr Hill fraudulently misappropriated $281,000 of the invested funds that were directed to company bank accounts to make payments to Mr Hill and other third parties,” ASIC said in a statement.

ASIC said its investigations showed that between January 2006 and February 2007, Hill met with various investors based in NSW.

“Describing himself as a 'financier/consultant', Mr Hill, through his company Hill Stephens & Associates Pty Ltd, told investors he would be able to provide them with investment opportunities to build their wealth towards retirement,” ASIC stated.

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“Mr Hill reviewed the financial circumstances of investors, recommended they set up a SMSF for investment, referred investors to a solicitor to establish a SMSF, elicited establishment fees and instructed investors to deposit their funds to his company bank accounts."

ASIC said Hill advised investors their funds would be used as “seed capital” in a number of Queensland-based property developments he was facilitating.

“Mr Hill advised investors that they would receive returns of between 10 to 30 per cent per annum, however, unknown to the investors, funds paid were not invested in the property developments as originally advised by Mr Hill.”

The case was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and a Sydney District Court jury found Hill guilty of fraudulent misappropriation.

The matter will return to court on April 7 for a sentencing hearing.

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