15/11/2013 - 15:47

Perth property developer found guilty

15/11/2013 - 15:47

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A former director of defunct Perth property developer Ocean Key Holdings has been found guilty of stealing more than $820,000 after an investigation by the corporate watchdog.

A former director of defunct Perth property developer Ocean Key Holdings hasĀ been found guilty of stealing more than $820,000 after an investigation by the corporate watchdog.

A District Court jury this week found Neil James Duckworth guilty of 20 counts of stealing as a director.

Each of the charges carries a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission alleged Mr Duckworth used money borrowed by Ocean Key and secured against land owned by the company to pay for personal and other related expenses.

Ocean Key raised funds from the public in 2006 when it released an offer information statement seeking to raise $5 million for the purpose of undertaking the subdivision and sale of land purchased by the company near Lancelin.

ASIC claims this land was never subdivided and no substantial progress was made on the project.

The land was mortgaged and the borrowed funds were allegedly used by Mr Duckworth for purposes largely unrelated to the company or the property development.

"Directors are important gatekeepers within Australia's financial system, being the directing mind and will of a company," ASIC commissioner John Price said.

"ASIC expects them to act honestly, take their responsibilities seriously and discharge their duties carefully."

The matter will return to the District Court for sentencing next month.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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