Glyn Leonard Raines, former chief financial officer of Hastie Services Pty Limited, was sentenced in the District Court of NSW, having pleaded guilty to two charges of conspiracy to falsify the books and records of Hastie Services and one charge of conspiracy to give false or misleading information to an auditor.
This decision follows the sentencing on 24 August 2017 of co-conspirator Samantha Kate Cousins, a former finance manager of Hastie Services, in the District Court of Queensland.
Ms Cousins had earlier pleaded guilty to two charges of conspiracy to falsify the books and records of Hastie Services and one charge of conspiracy to give false or misleading information to an auditor.
She was released on immediate recognisance on the condition of good behaviour for two years and security of $1,000.
According to ASIC, between 7 November 2008 and about 30 June 2011, both Ms Cousins and Mr Raines conspired with two other senior staff members of Hastie Services to make false entries into the books of the company to reduce the "gap" between the forecast Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) and the actual EBIT.
Further, between 5 May 2010 and about 13 February 2011, the pair conspired with the same two senior staff members to make false entries into the books in order to conceal the true financial position of Hastie Services' Western Australia branch.
Between 17 June 2010 and about 9 April 2011, Ms Cousins and Mr Raines conspired with the same two senior staff members to provide false information to auditors to conceal the above offending.
Judge Whitford took into account Mr Raines' 'significant degree of contrition' and 'considerable and extensive co-operation' with ASIC's investigation.
“On any view, the offending is objectively serious. There was no issue concerning that conclusion on sentence. It involved relatively senior managers within the corporate structure of a listed entity conspiring both to falsify the company books and to mislead and deceive the company auditors,” said Judge Whitford.
“[He] must have been acutely conscious of the impropriety of his conduct and, even if they were not intended, the serious consequences to which conduct that character could reasonably rise, both for the company directly and more broadly for its parent, the parent's company's shareholders and the market generally.”
ASIC commissioner John Price added, “The accuracy and reliability of financial reports is crucial to ensuring all who read the reports are properly informed.”
“ASIC will ensure that company officers who deliberately act to falsify books and records, in an attempt to mislead the public, will be brought to account.”
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.