LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Mr Piet Cornelius Walters today pleaded guilty in the Cairns District Court to14 fraud
charges, following an Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) investigation.
The charges, involving over $972,000, relate to offences surrounding the provision of financial services to the clients of Drury Management Pty Ltd (Drury Management), a Cairnsbased accounting practice of which Mr Walters was a director.
Between 1999 and 2003, Mr Walters obtained loans from approximately 118 private investors in the Cairns area who were guaranteed returns of eight to 15 per cent per annum. The investors entered into these unsecured loans by way of promissory notes and deeds. Mr
Walters then dishonestly sought to gain an advantage for himself and Drury Management or cause a detriment by using the investors’ funds for his own purposes.
Mr Walters was originally convicted on the charges on 16 September 2006 and appealed the District Court decision. On 27 April 2007, the conviction was overturned and a retrial
ordered. Mr Walters was remanded in custody and returns to Court on Friday 2 November 2007 for sentencing.
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is prosecuting the matter.
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.
ASIC obtained orders against the directors of Drury Management, Mr Piet Cornelius Walters and Mr Mark Samuel Evans, as well as Ransom House Pty Ltd, a company associated with Mr Walters.
The Court ordered that Mr Ian David Jessup of Jessup & Partners, Cairns (Jessup & Partners), be appointed as receiver of Drury Management Pty Ltd, Mr Walters, Mr Evans and Ransom House Pty Ltd.
In October 2004, the Supreme Court of Queensland ordered Jessup & Partners be appointed as liquidator of the scheme, as well as Drury Management Pty Ltd and Ransom House Pty
Ltd. The liquidator estimated approximately $15 million in losses from the Scheme.
The Court further declared all four respondents operated an unregistered investment scheme and 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.
In September 2004, ASIC permanently banned Mr Walters from providing any financial services.