Former director Mudasir Mohammed Naseeruddin has been sentenced to a total prison sentence of 4 years and 4 months for dishonest conduct and other charges. He will serve a non-parole period of 2 years and 9 months.
The sentence was handed down after Mr Naseeruddin pleaded guilty to two charges of dishonest conduct in the course of carrying on a financial services business contrary to subsections 1041G(1) and 1311(1) of the Corporations Act and two charges of failing to exercise powers and discharge duties in good faith in the best interests of a corporation contrary to subsection 184(1) of the Corporations Act.
Mr Naseeruddin encouraged investors to rollover their superannuation monies into newly created self-managed superannuation funds (SMSF) and to lend those funds to his two companies, Secure Investments Pty Ltd and Aquila Group Pty Ltd. Mr Naseeruddin was a director of both companies.
Between 13 May 2015 and 6 January 2020, Mr Naseeruddin dishonestly obtained more than $520,000 from six investors, including three First Nations investors from rural New South Wales. Mr Naseeruddin told the victims that the funds would be invested in property developments. However, only a small portion of their funds were invested this way.
Between 14 July 2016 and 23 December 2019, Mr Naseeruddin also dishonestly used his position as a director of Secure Investments Pty Ltd to withdraw over $550,000 from the company to purchase shares in a security company for his own benefit.
ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court said ‘Investors were encouraged to set up SMSFs so they could access their retirement funds to invest in these property companies. Sadly, these investors were taken advantage of and their funds were used dishonestly.
‘ASIC has been dedicated to this case for some time, freezing the assets of Mr Naseeruddin’s companies in 2019 and obtaining orders to wind up the companies in 2020. Today’s criminal outcome sends a strong message that dishonest conduct by directors will be investigated and prosecuted.’
In handing down her decision, Judge Todd called Mr Naseeruddin’s conduct ‘egregious and unacceptable’. Her Honour said Mr Naseeruddin ‘exploited relationships of trust’ and noted that the effect of his conduct on victims was ‘nothing short of ruinous’.
Mr Naseeruddin’s pleas of guilty were taken into account in sentencing, among other factors such as his youth and naivety at the time of offending, and good prospects of rehabilitation.
This matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions following an investigation and referral by ASIC.