Company directors jailed for dishonest investment scheme

Lismore's Ronald David Williams entering Brisbane District Court to be sentenced over a dishonest investment scheme. Photo Rae Wilson / Newsdesk
Lismore's Ronald David Williams entering Brisbane District Court to be sentenced over a dishonest investment scheme. Photo Rae Wilson / Newsdesk Rae Wilson

SCORNED investors glared as the two men, who cheated them out of millions of dollars through a failed investment scheme, were led into custody.

Ronald David Williams, 46, and Gary David Maile, 64, were jailed for four years and three months over a dishonest investment scheme they ran through their finance company Selection One on the Gold Coast.

When they went into voluntary administration, the men had debts of almost $21 million owed to 88 investors.

Williams, who submitted he was a sexual abuse victim of the Church of England North Coast Children's Home at Lismore where he has spent most of his life, and Maile, who fled to Gympie to avoid facing the shame he felt over the failed venture, will be released on parole after serving 16 months.

Commonwealth prosecutor David Henschell told Brisbane District court there were 133 investors with $12.15 million owed to them at an earlier point.

He said the two men had promised investor money would be leant to third parties at 6% interest rate a month, which equated to about 72% a year, and in turn they promised investors about 3% a month in returns, about 36% a year.

"Essentially the profits generated were not going to cover the company's interest liabilities to current investors," he said.

"They were intentionally being dishonest".

Mr Henschell said the men took directors loans totalling just more than $9 million - with $3.4 million repaid and $5.19 outstanding.

He said both men went bankrupt.

Judge Richard Jones said an enormous amount of money would never see the light of day again.

"White collar offences such as these, involving ... high risks of loss to the public and are often largely difficult to detect, there is a strong basis for a sentence sending an appropriate message of general deterrence, to deter others from committing such offences," he said.

"The defendants are effectively destitute as a result of the failure of the company.

"There is no evidence as to where this money ended up.

"Also there is no evidence to suggest this money went into financing lavish lifestyles.

"One must never lose sight of the fact that the defendants' offending has had a devastating impact on those who invested in the company.

"No doubt at least some of those investors would be lured by the expectations of enormous, if not unrealistic, stated returns on their investments."

Defence barrister Jeff Hunter said Williams had never made a formal statement to police or the Royal Commission investigating the children's home but he was there from age seven to 17.

He said his client instructed "he himself repaid about $1.6 million to some of the investors".

"He himself has lost everything," he said.

Defence barrister Tony Kimmins said Maile would fly around state ministers and high-profile business men until he sold up and went to the Gold Coast to retire.

He said he invested a substantial amount of money into the business venture with Williams, as did his family and children.

"Because of the shame he felt in relation to the involvement in this matter, he moved away so he didn't have to face people," he said.

"He has effectively lived, for the most part, a reclusive lifestyle in the Gympie area, except for the archery club.

"He and his wife reside in a shed on a bush block that is some distance out of Gympie.

"They live a simplistic existence and grow their own food."

Topics:  david williams jail

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