Mr David John Leigh, of Sherwood, Queensland, has today been sentenced before the Brisbane District Court to seven years imprisonment, and will be eligible for parole after serving 22 months in custody, after earlier pleading guilty to three counts of fraud under the Queensland Criminal Code.
ASIC commenced an investigation in February 2018 after Mr Leigh’s then firm self-reported misconduct. ASIC’s investigation revealed that between 25 July 2017 and 9 November 2017, Mr Leigh, as the co-liquidator of Neolido Holdings Pty Ltd (Neolido), dishonestly redirected $800,000 from the Neolido external administration bank account into a bank account that he controlled. He went on to use the funds for his own purposes (18-339MR).
On 22 February 2019, the registration of Mr Leigh as a liquidator was cancelled following a decision by a disciplinary committee (19-044MR) upon a referral from ASIC. The Committee also decided that a condition should be imposed on all other registered liquidators that they must not allow Mr Leigh to carry out any of the functions or duties, or exercise any of the powers, of a registered liquidator on their behalf for eight years commencing on 22 February 2019.
‘Liquidators must act honestly in the protection and administration of other people’s money. ASIC will continue to act against dishonest conduct and hold offenders to account,’ said ASIC Commissioner John Price.
Upon sentencing, Judge Farr said Mr Leigh ‘committed a significant breach of trust as a court appointed liquidator’ and in referring to Mr Leigh’s financial situation that led him to the offending, he was ‘uniquely positioned to know what legitimate avenues were available in [his] circumstances but chose not to choose those options’.
The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
Neolido is a property development company based in South Brisbane that was wound up on 25 November 2005 pursuant to a court order obtained by ASIC. On 14 October 2010, Mr Leigh was appointed as a co-liquidator of the company.
On 2 March 2018, ASIC suspended Mr Leigh’s registration as a company liquidator following receipt of an application by him, formally lodged on 28 February 2018. Mr Leigh agreed to resign as external administrator of all his current appointments and ASIC exercised its powers to appoint replacement liquidators to 16 companies to which Mr Leigh had been appointed as sole liquidator.
On 20 March 2018, Mr Andrew Fielding and Ms Helen Newman of BDO Business Restructuring were appointed as co-liquidators of Neolido.