A Melbourne accountant has avoided jail over two counts of authorising false or misleading invoices under the Corporations Act.
Melbourne accountant convicted for false, misleading invoices
Accountant Jason Dermot Cullen, of Yarraville in Victoria, has been fined $7,500 after being convicted of two counts of contravening section 1308(2) of the Corporations Act.
Mr Cullen was sentenced by the County Court of Victoria following his guilty plea to two charges of making a false or misleading statement in a document required by, or for the purposes of, the Corporations Act.
Each of the charges carried a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment.
Mr Cullen’s sentencing follows an ASIC investigation after former ASX-listed NewSat Limited went into liquidation in 2015.
The court found that Mr Cullen raised two invoices for amounts totalling $275,000 to be addressed to NewSat for financial and advisory services, though no services had been provided.
Following the invoices being issued, NewSat paid the $275,000 to the BMK Partners, the accounting and financial advisory firm where Mr Cullen was employed.
From there, $245,000 of the money received was transferred to a private company of which Mr Cullen and NewSat’s former chief executive, Adrian Ballintine, were both directors.
Mr Ballintine was also convicted on one charge of authorising the making of false or misleading statements in documents under the Corporations Act; he was fined $15,000 and disqualified from managing a corporation for five years.
In passing sentence on Mr Cullen, Judge Sarah Dawes said he held a position of trust and should be held accountable for providing misleading information.
“Offending of this nature undermines public confidence in the sharemarket and public companies,” Judge Dawes said.
ASIC commissioner John Price said making false and misleading statements is a serious offence.
“ASIC will take action when an accountant’s conduct falls short of required professional standards,” Mr Price said.