Former Ralan Group managing director sentenced to four years in prison

Former Ralan Group managing director William O’Dwyer has been sentenced to immediate imprisonment after pleading guilty to six offences of obtaining a financial advantage by deception contrary to section 192E of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

On 2 February 2024, the District Court of NSW sentenced Mr O’Dwyer to four years imprisonment with a non-parole period of two years and four months.

The charges that Mr O’Dwyer pleaded guilty to related to the following conduct:

That between 17 April 2015 and 6 June 2018, Mr O’Dwyer, by deception, dishonestly obtained for companies in the Ralan Group the ability to draw down on finance facilities totalling $251 million.
The Ralan Group obtained the loans in respect of the development of residential projects in Sydney, Arncliffe, Turramurra and Gordon.
As part of the loan agreements, the companies were required to satisfy lenders that pre-sale deposits paid by purchasers of residences in the developments were held in trust before draw down on the loans could occur.
Mr O’Dwyer deceived the lenders into believing that the pre-sale deposits were held in a trust account, when in fact they had been loaned by the purchasers back to the respective development company for use as working capital.
Approximately $132 million was drawn down upon the facilities, with approximately $47 million repaid by the time the companies in the Ralan Group went into administration in July 2019. A further amount is expected to be recouped by the lenders following their purchase and development of the Arncliffe property.
In his sentencing remarks District Court Judge Anderson said that the financial advantage obtained was ‘enormous’ and that O’Dwyer’s conduct was ongoing and deliberate, and a calculated fraud.

ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court said, ‘Today’s penalty is significant and emphasises the seriousness of fraudulent activities, together with ASIC’s commitment to investigate and prosecute such cases, and the importance of holding those responsible accountable for their actions.’

The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions following a referral by ASIC.

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