A former Westpac home finance manager has been sentenced to three years’ jail over a scam that involved loans of millions of dollars to the elderly.
David St Pierre – who pleaded guilty to dishonest use of his position in regard to a failed Tasmanian property development scheme – was sentenced to three years’ jail in the Southport District Court, on the Gold Coast. He will be eligible for release after six months if he provides a $1,000 bond.
St Pierre obtained more than $2.5 million in loans for Westpac customers who used the money to invest in a development scheme operated by Capital Growth International Club (CGIC) and All About Property Developments (AAPD).
On 2 November 2016, St Pierre pleaded guilty to three counts of dishonest use of his position, with the intention of directly or indirectly gain an advantage for himself or others.
ASIC alleged that between July 2008 and June 2010, St Pierre dishonestly used his position and submitted loan applications for approval when he knew they contained false information and fake documents.
The customers were elderly and vulnerable, and had limited financial means. St Pierre encouraged them to borrow against their homes to invest, with promises of returns of 12 to 20 per cent per annum.
The customers received monthly interest payments from CGIC and AAPD after they invested. However, the interest payments stopped shortly before a liquidator was appointed on 28 February 2011. This left the customers without sufficient income to repay their loans to Westpac.
Westpac has compensated the customers who obtained loans from the big four bank through St Pierre in this case. It also compensated investors who did not borrow funds from Westpac but claimed to have had direct contact with St Pierre before making their investment in CGIC.
In delivering the sentence, Judge David Kent QC said St Pierre’s behaviour was described accurately by the Crown as calculated, elaborate, determined and not a fleeting mistake.
ASIC Commissioner Peter Kell said St Pierre’s actions betrayed the trust of his clients and caused them significant financial harm.
“This sentence showed such behaviour will not be tolerated,” Mr Kell said.
In March 2014, ASIC permanently banned St Pierre from engaging in credit activities and providing financial services.
ASIC’s investigations into CGIC, AAPD and its officers continue.