19. July 2011 09:04
Mr Gabrial Neil Pennicott, a former director of Sunset Capital Pty Ltd and property investment scheme promoter, has been found guilty in the County Court of Victoria of 23 criminal charges brought by ASIC.
Mr Pennicott, of Mermaid Waters, Queensland, was found guilty by a jury on 13 July 2011 of:
- six charges of dishonestly using his position as a director or officer of various companies contrary to section 184(2)(a) of the Corporations Act;
- four charges of dishonestly obtaining property by deception contrary to section 81 of the Victorian Crimes Act;
- six charges of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception contrary to section 82(1) of the Victorian Crimes Act; and
- seven charges of attempting to dishonestly obtain a financial advantage by deception contrary to sections 321M and 82(1) of the Victorian Crimes Act.
The transactions relating to the above charges involved Mr Pennicott:
- transferring shares owned by companies he controlled at artificially inflated prices so as to change the balances of inter-company loan accounts between the companies. The value of these transactions was $2,465,000;
- transferring and attempting to transfer shares at artificially inflated prices to repay and attempt to repay amounts owed to lenders to a company he controlled in lieu of repaying the monies owed. The value of these transactions was $1,238,456.49;
- transferring shares at artificially inflated prices to himself and another person in lieu of being repaid amounts owed to them and then transferring the same shares to another company controlled by him which resulted in cash being paid to Mr Pennicott and the other person. The value of these transactions was $125,000; and
- selling shares to investors which were artificially inflated in price and then obtaining shares for a company that he controlled and to which the company was not entitled. The value of these transactions was $200,000.
Mr Pennicott was remanded in custody. A plea hearing will take place on 26 August 2011.
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions prosecuted the matter.
In late 2004, Mr Pennicott left Australia. On 26 April 2007, Mr Pennicott was arrested in British Columbia, Canada, following a request by the Australian Government to Canadian authorities to issue a provisional arrest warrant.
On 7 December 2007, Mr Pennicott consented to being extradited to Australia before the Supreme Court of British Columbia and was placed into custody pending his extradition to Australia. On 21 December 2007, Mr Pennicott appeared at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court following his extradition from Canada.
On 30 April 2009, Mr Pennicott was permanently banned by ASIC from the financial securities industry.
The maximum penalty in relation to offences against section 184(2)(a) of the Corporations Act is 2,000 penalty units or imprisonment for five years or both.
The maximum penalties in relation to offences against the Victorian Crimes Act are as follows:
- Offences contrary to section 81 and section 82(1): 10 years maximum
- Offences of attempt contrary to section 82(1) and section 321M: 5 years maximum