Douglas Johnston of Carrum Downs has been found guilty by the County Court of Victoria on nine dishonesty charges that resulted in approximately $815,000 being defrauded from investors, according to a statement from ASIC.
Mr Johnston used his association with the Collingwood Football Club to develop friendships with investors before raising the idea of investing with them. The majority of the funds invested were never repaid, ASIC said.
The offences were committed by Mr Johnston and his wife Maureen Johnston to secure funds by false representations as to how the money was being used.
Between January 2010 to November 2013, funds deposited into a bank account named “Small Business Management” were withdrawn as cash, used to repay the Johnstons’ credit card debts and transferred to another account in the name of Maureen Johnston.
Friend or foe?
More broadly, developing friendships is a popular way investors are targeted with scams and shams.
“By developing a friendly relationship with you, scammers know you’re more likely to listen to them and go along with something they suggest,” ASIC said.
Promises of “easy money” are another warning sign that investors should look out for.
“Some scammers will approach you with offers to make easy money, perhaps by investing in their company or product with little to no risk, or by offering you a ‘loan’,” ASIC said.