Property spruiker convicted of fraud

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A New South Wales investment property spruiker who promised investors of returns up to 30% per annum from property development projects in Queensland has been found guilty of fraud.

Following an ASIC investigation, Steven William Hill, a former company director has been found guilty of six charges of fraudulent misappropriation by a Sydney District Court jury after a four-week trial.

ASIC alleged that between January 2006 to February 2007, Hill, through Hill Stephens & Associates and International Finance Consortium, induced various investors to pay approximately $618,000 to acquire interests in a ‘house and land’ property development located in Queensland.

According to the regulator, 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 a SMSF, elicited establishment fees and instructed investors to deposit their funds to his company bank accounts. 

He then advised investors their funds would be used as ‘seed capital’ in a number of Queensland based property developments he was facilitating and that they would receive returns of between 10 - 30% per annum. However, unknown to the investors, the funds paid were not invested in the property developments.

The Jury found Hill guilty of fraudulently misappropriating $281,000 of the invested funds that were directed to company bank accounts to make payments to himself and other third parties.

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

The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. It will return to court on 7 April 2016 for a hearing on sentencing.