An investigation by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has led to a guilty plea to criminal offences by disqualified trustee, Mr David Foulds, before the Melbourne Magistrates Court. Mr Foulds holds the position of Director in superannuation consulting with accountancy firm, Pitcher Partners.
Mr Foulds pleaded guilty to making and keeping records of the Wall and Ceiling Superannuation Fund (the Fund), which did not correctly record and explain matters to which they related and with the intent of deceiving APRA. This is a breach of section 307 under the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993.
The Court discharged Mr Foulds without proceeding to conviction under section 19B of the Crimes Act 1914 on the conditions that he be of good behaviour for 18 months and pay $1,500 to the Sacred Heart Mission – St Kilda on or before 14 January 2005.
The Court said that it would have recorded a conviction against Mr Foulds and fined him $3,500 had it not been for his undertaking to offer assistance in the form of evidence against others in respect of any future proceedings.
APRA has already disqualified Mr Foulds from acting as a trustee of any regulated superannuation fund. His disqualification and prosecution follow APRA’s earlier announcement of actions taken against other people associated with the Fund.
APRA’s Deputy Chairman, Mr Ross Jones, said that APRA depends on information provided by funds and their advisers to ensure that, in all reasonable circumstances, their financial promises to their members are fulfilled.
“Any attempts to mislead APRA are taken very seriously,” he said.
The Fund has assets valued at about $3 million and approximately 140 members employed in the plastering industry.
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) is the prudential regulator of the financial services industry. It oversees banks, credit unions, building societies, general insurance and reinsurance companies, life insurance, friendly societies, and most members of the superannuation industry. APRA is funded largely by the industries that it supervises. It was established on 1 July 1998. APRA currently supervises institutions holding approximately $2.0 trillion in assets for 20 million Australian depositors, policyholders and superannuation fund members.