Real estate spruiker jailed for fraud

Following an ASIC investigation, a former company director and property spruiker has been sentenced to two years and nine months' jail.

ASIC announced that Steven William Hill has today been sentenced in the Sydney District Court to two years and nine months' imprisonment, with a minimum of one year and nine months to be served before becoming eligible for parole.

The regulator said that between January 2006 and February 2007, Mr 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 located in Queensland.

The defendant was found guilty of fraudulently misappropriating $281,000 of the invested funds, which were directed to company bank accounts to make payments to Mr Hill and other third parties.

ASIC Commissioner Greg Tanzer said Mr Hill's actions betrayed the trust of his investors and caused them significant financial harm.

“Today's sentence showed such behaviour will not be tolerated,” he said.

The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

ASIC investigations reveal that between January 2006 and February 2007, Mr 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.

According to ASIC, Mr Hill reviewed the financial circumstances of investors, recommended they set up a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) for investment, referred investors to a solicitor to establish an SMSF, elicited establishment fees and instructed investors to deposit their funds to his company bank accounts.

The regulator found that Mr Hill advised investors their funds would be used as 'seed capital' in a number of Queensland-based property developments he was facilitating. He advised investors that they would receive returns of between 10 and 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, ASIC said.

In June 2013, Mr Hill was charged with eight counts of fraudulent misappropriation and in March 2015 he was ordered to stand trial on seven counts of fraudulent misappropriation.

Mr Hill was convicted in March 2016 and found guilty on six counts of fraudulent misappropriation by a Sydney District Court jury after a four-week trial.

He was found not guilty of one charge of fraudulently misappropriating $150,000.


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