Monday 16 July 2007 LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Former investment adviser and principal of Golconda Resources, Mr Mark Alan Taylor, has pleaded guilty today in the South Australian District Court to 63 charges relating to the promotion of investments in the failed Queensland investment scheme known as the Wattle Group. The 63 charges relate to a total loss of $1.2 million of investors’ funds and follow an investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) into Mr Taylor’s activities.
Today’s proceedings follow the issue of a warrant for Mr Taylor’s arrest by the South Australian District Court on 21 February 2002 after he failed to appear in court as required by his bail conditions. Mr Taylor had left the country with the permission of the court but failed to return. Mr Taylor has been in custody since being apprehended in Malaysia in January 2007. Mr Taylor was remanded in custody until 9 August at 9.30am for submission on sentence. The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is prosecuting the matter. Background The Wattle Group was an unlicensed investment scheme which raised more than $160 million from over 2,700 investors across Australia until 1998 when ASIC took action to wind up the scheme.
Mr Geoffrey Robert Dexter operated the scheme by obtaining unsecured loan funds from investors on the promise of high rates of return, generally 50 per cent per annum. On 7 May 2001, Mr Dexter was convicted of multiple fraud charges and jailed for 10 years. The total of amount of money invested in the Wattle scheme through the Golconda scheme was approximately $7.9 million. Mr Ian William Snook, formerly an investment adviser and also principal of Golconda Resources, was sentenced on 2 October 2003 to two years imprisonment but was immediately released on a two-year good behaviour bond in the sum of $1,000. For further information contact: Jan Redfern Executive Director, Enforcement Telephone: 02 9911 2191 Mobile: 0411 119 210 Emma Forehan ASIC Media Unit Telephone: 03 9280 3354 Mobile: 0409 702 310