Company directors convicted for making false statements to ASIC

Two company directors have been separately convicted for each lodging a false and misleading document with ASIC.

The false and misleading statements related to declarations that the company had no outstanding liabilities when this was not the case.

Mr John Hunter Benn Goldsbrough appeared in the Parramatta Local Court on 27 November 2019 and was fined $6,200.

Mr Goldsbrough was a former director of Telstra Business Consultants Pty Ltd ACN 612 233 520 (Telstra Business Consultants). Telstra Business Consultants provided consulting services to various developers engaged by Telstra.

An ASIC investigation found that Mr Goldsbrough lodged documents with ASIC in March 2018 and April 2018 to voluntarily deregister Telstra Business Consultants. In the document, Mr Goldsbrough falsely and misleadingly stated that Telstra Business Consultants had no outstanding liabilities. However, at the time Mr Goldsbrough lodged the document with ASIC, Telstra Business Consultants owed $95,839.59 to a creditor.

Ms Michelina Lawson of Mount Hawthorn, WA, appeared in the Perth Magistrates Court on 3 December 2019 and was fined $1,200.

Ms Lawson was a former sole director of Lawson Migration Services Pty Ltd (Lawson Migration Services) and operated a migration services business in Perth.

An ASIC investigation found that Ms Lawson lodged a document with ASIC in March 2017 to voluntarily deregister Lawson Migration Services. In the document, Ms Lawson falsely and misleadingly stated that her business did not have any outstanding liabilities. However, at the time Ms Lawson lodged the document with ASIC, Lawson Migration Services had more than $17,708 in outstanding entitlements owed to employees.

ASIC Commissioner John Price said the various declarations made by directors when applying to deregister a company were designed to ensure creditor interests were protected and that the company’s affairs ceased in an orderly manner.

‘Making a false and misleading statement to ASIC is a serious offence’, Mr Price said.

In addition to being convicted and fined, both Mr Goldsborough and Ms Lawson are automatically disqualified from managing companies for five years from 27 November 2019 and from 3 December 2019 respectively as a consequence of their convictions.

The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

Background

Under section 1308(2) of the Corporations Act, a person who lodges a document with ASIC that is false, or misleading is guilty of a criminal offence.

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