‘Ponzi’ firms in liquidation
Six companies at the heart of an alleged $200 million Pilbara Ponzi scheme have been put into provisional liquidation by the Federal Court.
Justice Michael Barker last Wednesday appointed KPMG’s Hayden White and Matthew Woods as provisional liquidators of six companies associated with wouldbe Pilbara real estate developer Veronica Macpherson after the Australian Securities and Investments Commission applied for the move as part of its investigation of the alleged Ponzi scheme.
ASIC claims the alleged scheme has taken up to $200 million from investors in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Britain and beyond.
The companies are all believed to have been centrally involved in promotion and management of Ms Macpherson’s Newman Estate project, a 240-lot development in the Pilbara.
ASIC said last Wednesday it had applied for the appointment of liquidators because it asserted in the proceedings before the court that the companies had been “involved in multiple contraventions of the corporations legislation and are not complying with their obligations under that legislation, were not being properly managed and are suspected to be insolvent”.
The companies include Macro Realty Developments Pty Ltd, Macro Realty Developments AFSL Pty Ltd, Macro All State Investments and Securities Ltd, Pilbara Property Developments Pty Ltd, Macro Realty Pty Ltd, and 511 GTN Pty Ltd.
The last was already in receivership after a Hong Kong hedge fund that was a major early lender to Ms Macpherson appointed FTI Consulting to recover its investment.
Justice Barker ordered that the liquidators prepare a report for the court outlining the estimated assets and liabilities of the group, an opinion as to their solvency, and investigate whether any breaches of the Corporations Act had been committed by the companies and directors.
Ms Macpherson appeared in court and did not oppose the appointment of the liquidators.
ASIC’s win comes as investors ramp up efforts to reclaim some money they believe they are owed after the Macro Realty Development group ceased payments a year ago.