Individual charged over $600k commission from criminal proceedings

ASIC courtenay house ponzi Commission

16 December 2022
| By Laura Dew |
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A contractor has been charged with carrying on an unlicensed financial services business between 2 November, 2016 and 21 April, 2017.

Athan Papoulias of Brighton Le Sands, NSW, pled guilty in the Downing Centre Local Court to one charge of carrying on a financial services business, reckless about the fact that it did not have the required licence and one charge of dealing in the proceeds of crime worth $100,000 or more, reckless to it being the proceeds of crime.

He also pled guilty to dealing in proceeds of crime in that period, in the form of commissions for promoting investments in Courtenay House, while being reckless about the fact that the commissions were proceeds of crime derived from the carrying on of an unlicensed financial services business.

He received approximately $670,860 in commissions by attracting investors to Courtenay House.

The maximum penalty at the time for carrying on a financial services business without an Australian Financial Services license was 2 years imprisonment, a fine of $36,000 or both. The maximum penalty at the time for dealing with the proceeds of crime, reckless to it being proceeds of crime was 10 years imprisonment, a fine of $108,000 or both. 

This was the second plea related to Courtenay House followed Tony Iervasi who pled guilty to five criminal charges regarding offences committed when he was the director of Courtenay House, which raised around $180 million from around 585 investors.

ASIC alleged the Courtenay House companies represented to investors that their funds would be traded in the forex and futures markets when only a small proportion of funds were traded. Instead, monthly amounts were paid to investors representing that they were from trading. It was not alleged that Papoulias was aware that only a small amount of investors’ capital was ever traded, or that he knew the trading business was a Ponzi scheme.

Papoulias was committed to Sydney District Court for sentence, which would occur on a date to be fixed. His first appearance before that Court would be on 20 January, 2023.

The matter was being prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions after an investigation and referral by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).


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