Sunday 17 September 2006 06 LAWFUEL – Australia Law Daily – Ms Jan Redfern, Executive Director of Enforcement at of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), has announced the decision by the Cairns District Court to jail Mr Piet Cornelius Walters for eight years following an ASIC investigation. After a three-week trial, Mr Walters was yesterday convicted and sentenced in relation to 14 charges of dishonesty involving over $972,000 in relation to the provision of financial services to 10 clients of Drury Management Pty Ltd. The Court was told that Mr Walters operated a Cairns-based accounting practice, trading as Drury Management from 1999 to 2003. Mr Walters obtained loans from private investors who were guaranteed returns from eight to 15 per cent per annum. Many investors entered into these unsecured loans by way of promissory notes and deeds. Mr Walters then used the funds for his own purposes.
Ms Redfern said the jailing of Mr Walters sent a strong message to the community that those who misuse investor funds would be punished. ‘When people invest their funds with a professional they do so in good faith and place a high degree of trust in that person. Those who blatantly abuse the trust of their clients and act dishonestly will not be tolerated and will be pursued with the full force of the law’, Ms Redfern said. The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions Background This criminal action follows earlier civil action taken by ASIC, and Mr Walters’ arrest in Hobart in April 2003.
Mr Walters and Mr Mark Samuel Evans, a co-director of Drury Management, operated an accounting practice, which had offices in Malanda, Atherton and Cairns in Queensland. ASIC alleged that Mr Walters also carried on the Drury Management business of providing financial advice and dealing in securities, even though they did not hold a licence to do so. Mr Walters was a securities representative for ABN AMRO Morgans (Morgans) from 30 August 1999. Mr Walters was terminated as a Proper Authority holder for Morgans on 28 June 2002. In September 2002, ASIC obtained interim orders in the Supreme Court of Queensland in Cairns appointing an interim receiver to an unregistered, managed investment scheme, operating as Drury Management Pty Ltd, in Malanda, Queensland.
Orders were also obtained against the directors of Drury Management, Mr Walters and Mr Mark Samuel Evans, as well as Ransom House, a company associated with Mr Walters. The Court ordered that Mr Ian David Jessup of Jessup & Partners, Cairns be appointed as receiver of Drury Management Pty Ltd, Mr Walters, Mr Evans and Ransom House Pty Ltd. The Court ordered an interim injunction restraining the respondents from further operating the scheme, receiving or soliciting funds in connection with the scheme, removing any assets from Australia, or disposing of any assets. In September 2004, ASIC permanently banned Mr Walters from providing any financial services.
In October 2004, the Supreme Court of Queensland in Cairns ordered Jessup & Partners be appointed as liquidator of the Drury Management scheme, as well as Drury Management Pty Ltd and Ransom House Pty Ltd. Declarations and orders were also obtained against the directors of Drury Management Pty Ltd, Mr Walters and Mr Evans, as well as Ransom House Pty Ltd. The Court declared all four respondents operated an unregistered investment scheme. The Court further declared that Mr Walters, Mr Evans and Drury Management Pty Ltd carried on an investment advice business, securities business and financial services business without a licence or an exemption from being licensed.
The Court also imposed a permanent injunction restraining all respondents from further operating the scheme, receiving or soliciting funds in connection with the scheme, dealing with any property held by them, and destroying or interfering with any of their books and records. Mr Walters is a Dutch citizen, also known as Mr Fred Siebolt Hofman who arrived in Australia in June 1991. Mr Walters, under the name of Hofman, is also wanted on a Canada-wide arrest warrant relating to 31 counts of theft and 30 counts of fraud allegedly committed between 1986 and 1991, involving approximately CAD$9.7 million.
For further information contact: Jan Redfern Executive Director, Enforcement Telephone: 02 9911 2191 Mobile: 0411 119 210 Angela Friend ASIC Media Unit Telephone: 03 9280 3338 Mobile: 0412 058 800List your legal jobs on the LawFuel Network