A former Gold Coast rich-lister allegedly swindled more than half a million dollars from clients’ superannuation funds through a series of fake investments to pay bills and his wife.
Craig Kirrin Gore, 53, is accused of 12 counts of dishonesty gaining $775,000 from four self-managed funds while working at Arion Financial in 2013 and 2014.
Prosecutor Michael Copley QC says Gore promised investors the money would earn more than eight per cent interest and be repaid to their accounts within three months.
However, the court heard this never happened.
“The situation is the same from complainant to complainant, … the beneficiaries of the funds received telephone calls from someone called Craig,” he told the Brisbane District Court on Monday during his opening address in the trial.
“(He) suggested to them they might like to make what he called an ‘investment’ in debentures (with Westpac).”
Mr Copley said Gore, a failed property developer, made the calls despite knowing Arion was in a “precarious” financial position and little money in its bank accounts.
“(It) had a number of debts to pay and there was no real prospect of (Arion), for whom he gained the funds, having the capacity to repay the money,” he said.
“And there was no real capacity of (Arion) paying the interest component of eight-and-a-quarter per cent.”
Mr Copley said evidence would be heard during the five-day trial from Arion’s financial controller, Mario Mey, that Gore made most of the management decisions at the company and never directed for the money to be invested once received from clients.
“The funds from these superannuation funds … was simply expensed as directed by Gore to cover the expenses of creditors (and) sometimes to pay personal benefits for Gore and his wife, Marina,” he said.
Mr Copley said Mr Mey would also say Gore invented excuses for staff to use when investors requested their money back.
Gore also allegedly used some of the money to pay his rent.
Witness Damian Wooster said he invested $250,000 with Gore via four transactions.
“He would ring me and say you’re not getting much with (Macquarie Bank.) … put some more in,” he said.
Mr Wooster said he became concerned about the investment in late 2014.
“I was not getting a lot of response in terms of emails or telephone contact,” he said.
“It seemed like a lot of stalling tactics or just no response at all. I was starting to get a bit nervous.
“There was (also) quite a few excuses as to why things had not happened.”
Mr Wooster was eventually sent a statement showing he had earned more than $22,000 interest.
But he never received that money and was eventually repaid just $39,000 of his initial investment.
The trial continues.