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SMSF property promoter pleads guilty

Charterhill SMSF property Nowak

Charterhill Group founder George Nowak, who promoted SMSF property purchases, has pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated deception and dishonest dealings.

Charterhill Group director George Nowak, who promoted property purchases through an SMSF, has pleaded guilty during his criminal trial to charges of aggravated deception and dishonest dealings with documents.

Following an investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Nowak was charged with 17 counts of aggravated deception and one count of dishonest dealings with documents. He entered the guilty plea during the third week of his criminal trial in the Distract Court of South Australia.

ASIC had investigated Nowak’s dealings with members of SMSFs undertaking property purchases offered by four companies in the Charterhill Group, and where Nowak was the director of each company.

“Charges laid against Mr Nowak concern the misappropriation of $1.2 million in SMSF monies by not holding those funds in a designated account and by not applying those funds towards the intended property purchase,” ASIC said.

Each charge of aggravated deception carries a maximum penalty of 15 years’ imprisonment and the charge of dishonest dealings with documents carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment.

“The plea to 18 charges includes one representative charge that effectively covers six of the deception counts as one,” ASIC added.

Companies within the Charterhill Group, including Lending Solutions International Pty Ltd, Nova Real Estate Pty Ltd, EJ Property Developments Pty Ltd and Financial Wellness Pty Ltd, have been placed under external control.

A 2016 ASIC investigation led to Nowak being charged with 31 counts of deception and one count of dishonest dealings with documents.

In 2015, he was banned by ASIC from providing financial advice until mid-2017 as a result of his status as an undischarged bankrupt.

The matter is being prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

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