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Fraudulent SMSF accountant charged

A former SMSF accountant has appeared before Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court, charged with 23 criminal counts, including 12 counts of making false and misleading statements, following an ASIC investigation.

Nicolas James Ellis of Valentine, New South Wales, was also charged with nine counts of fraudulently misappropriating money, one count of fraud and one count of obtaining a financial benefit by deception.

ASIC alleged between March 2009 and June 2010, Ellis, who was director of Tura Pty Ltd, made false or misleading statements to investors and then fraudulently misappropriated about $857,000 of investor funds. The corporate watchdog alleged that through his financial planning business, 2020 Financial Solutions, he advised a number of his clients to set up SMSFs.

It alleged that between March 2009 and June 2010, he then made false and misleading statements in relation to an investment in a hotel at Tura, NSW, in order to raise funds from the SMSFs.

He then fraudulently misappropriated about $857,000 of investor money for his own benefit, including going towards purchasing a $3 million home in Manly, it alleged.

It further alleged around $250,546 of the misappropriated investor funds were used to pay out investors in a previous investment run by Ellis, which had failed.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of between five and 10 years’ imprisonment.

The matter has been listed for mention on 22 March.

It is being prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

In 2013, ASIC banned Ellis from providing financial services for six years for other conduct.

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