Ben Jayaweera appeared before the Brisbane Magistrates Court charged with six counts of fraud involving about $5.9 million on Friday.
The charges follow an investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, which alleged that Mr Jayaweera, as director of Growth Plus Financial Group, “caused a detriment to numerous clients”.
The regulator said Growth Plus Financial Group operated an unregistered managed investments scheme known as the Australian Diversified Sector Income Fund.
However, ASIC continued, despite Mr Jayaweera’s presentation of the fund as a diversified fund, he was in reality diverting investors’ funds into a South Australian abalone farm. The farm was operated by entities under his control.
Mr Jayaweera has been granted conditional bail with the matter adjourned until 13 July 2018.
ASIC began civil proceedings against Mr Jayaweera in October 2016 after the Australian Taxation Office wound up Growth Plus over unpaid debts.