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Former FCA jailed for 10 years

A former Fellow Chartered Accountant has now been sentenced to 10 years in jail after pleading guilty to deceiving clients in the use of their SMSF money.

Business Aidan Curtis 07 April 2020
— 1 minute read

Sentenced in the District Court of South Australia, Charterhill Group founder George Nowak will now face a non-parole period of six years and three months.

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In February, Mr Nowak pleaded guilty to 18 charges related to the misappropriation of $1.2 million in SMSF money.

Mr Nowak was found to have failed to hold the funds in a designated account and did not apply funds towards the intended property purchases in the period between December 2012 and December 2013.

An ASIC investigation also found that Mr Nowak was undertaking property purchases offered by companies of which he was a director, including EJ Property Developments Pty Ltd.

He was charged with 17 counts of aggravated deception which each carried a maximum penalty of 15 years in jail, and a single charge of dishonest dealings with documents which carried a maximum of 10 years.

In delivering the sentence, Judge Sophie David noted Mr Nowak’s actions had a significant impact on the victims’ lives and were perpetuated in order to fund a lavish lifestyle.

ASIC commissioner Danielle Press said the sentence reflects the seriousness of Mr Nowak’s conduct and the impact it had on his clients.

“Mr Nowak deliberately misled his clients and used his funds for his own benefit. [He] dishonestly and deliberately breached his clients’ trust,” Ms Press said.

The conviction automatically disqualifies Mr Nowak from managing a corporation for five years.

Mr Nowak was previously banned from providing financial services in March 2015 after an ASIC investigation found he had applied for personal bankruptcy in July 2014.

After the ban, a liquidators report was released that suggested the Charterhill Group may have traded while insolvent.

The Charterhill Group operated as a “one-stop shop”, providing advice to clients on the establishment of SMFS, rollover of existing superannuation funds into an SMSF, sourcing and purchase of investment properties, property management, insurance and taxation.

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) had stripped Mr Nowak of his fellowship status in July 2015, barring him from reinstatement and cancelling his membership.

Former FCA jailed for 10 years
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