Developer pleads not guilty to $800k fraud
Ex-rich lister and property developer Craig Gore has pleaded not guilty to fraud after being accused of swindling about $800,000 from self-managed super fund investors to pay company debts and rent on his Queensland home.
The twice-bankrupt Gold Coast businessman is facing a judge-only trial in the Brisbane District Court over 12 counts of fraud, which is alleged to have occurred from 2013-14 at Southport on the Gold Coast.
The 53-year-old son of Sanctuary Cove developer Mike Gore, is accused of engaging in the fraud for the benefit of the companies Arion Financial and Arion Group.
The court on Monday heard investors in a number of self-managed super funds were told by their financial services provider Sleipner Financial that the company had been bought by Arion Financial.
Soon after, investors allegedly received contact from a man named "Craig" who encouraged them to invest money in a "debenture scheme", the court heard.
The man, who the crown allege was Craig Gore, allegedly told the super fund holders of a 90-day rolling "low-risk" investment scheme that would return 8.25 per cent on their investment.
The court heard the money was never returned to investors, but withdrawn from the bank account it was paid into within two weeks of its deposit.
The money was allegedly used to pay Arion's debts.
The court heard it had also allegedly been withdrawn to pay Craig Gore's rental expenses and $1000 was allegedly given to his ex-wife.
Crown prosector Michael Copley QC told the court the pattern of the money being withdrawn from the account, leaving it with little money or being overdrawn happens "over and over again" during the period of the alleged fraud.
In some cases, investors also received statements that told them their money was gaining interest, even though it had already been withdrawn from the account, the court heard.
Investor Damian Wooster, who the court heard made four investments totalling $250,000, gave evidence during the trial that he believed he would be able to withdraw the capital at anytime.
"It all stacked up, I could get the money back if I needed it quickly," he said.
But by late 2014, Mr Wooster was becoming worked about his investment and today told the court "Craig" was making excuses for "poor service".
"Late in the year I wasn't getting a lot of response in terms of emails or telephone contact or requests for information, it seemed like there was a lot of stalling contacts or just no response at all and I was starting to get a bit nervous about things," he told the court on Monday.
In documents shown to the court, Mr Wooster received an email in October 2014 with an interest statement attached.
The email was from an email address with the name title "Craig Gore".
The court heard the email was responsive to issues Mr Wooster had raised with the man he knew only as "Craig".
Mr Wooster told the court he only ever received $39,000 of the money invested with Arion from the debentures scheme.
The money was returned after he contacted another person at the company because "Craig" was "making excuses" - including that he was unavailable because his daughter had "emergency surgery".
Another text message, the person alleged to be Craig Gore said "... my apologies there is nothing I can do I have some personal circumstances I must address" and told Mr Wooster another person would contact him.
The $39,000 was the only amount of money returned from the total $800,000 invested from the total number of investors, Mr Copley QC alleged.
The trial continues.
Originally published as Developer pleads not guilty to $800k fraud