ASIC ban on Ponzi scheme accused
The financial net has tightened further around accused Ponzi princess Veronica Macpherson — who stands accused of owing more than $250 million to thousands of investors in her failed Pilbara property scheme — after she was permanently banned from providing financial services.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission said last week it had found Ms Macpherson, once the head of the Macro Realty Group, “had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct”.
“ASIC found that in relation to Ms Macpherson’s involvement with the development and promotion of the Newman Estate Project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia . . . that she was not of good fame or character, that she had engaged in dishonest conduct,” ASIC said.
Notably, ASIC also said it believed Ms Macpherson “was involved in a contravention of financial services laws”.
No criminal charges have yet been laid against Ms Macpherson, who at the height of her influence used pictures of herself dining with former premier Colin Barnett and former WA Nationals leader Brendon Grylls on social media.
ASIC said its investigation was continuing and Ms Macpherson had the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of its decision.
Late last month, in the Federal Court, Justice Michael Barker reaffirmed court orders that Ms Macpherson be restrained from providing financial services advice, dealing in financial products, promoting financial products and otherwise carrying on a financial services business.
On her online presence, or “vcard”, Ms Macpherson was promoting herself recently as a “corporate adviser . . . to do the necessary to assist businesses with achieving their goals”.
She is also promoting a book, The Great Australian Ponzi, which is still being advertised as being launched next month, with launch tickets priced at $40.
“The capitalists were to help the Aboriginal people develop the land, build housing and make profits, yet what actually happened as a result of greed, corruption and incompetence I refer to as — The Great Australian Ponzi,” Ms Macpherson wrote online. “I did not know what the term Ponzi meant when I was first asked to pay someone money to not report to our financial services authority (ASIC) that I was running one, so I looked it up on the internet.”
Ms Macpherson is due back in court in October.