Friday, 11 January 2019

Nightcap Village Scam Alert



A new blog, "Nightcap Village Scam Alert" posted at nightcapvillagescammers.blogspot.com is purportedly authored by "by current investors and former contractors of the project"

Acting for the "Association of Defrauded Investors, the management of this blog, "Nightcap Village Nightmare" at nightcapnightmare.blogspot.com.au, and the blog mountwarningecovillagescam.blogspot.com,  advise that these blogs are not associated with "Nightcap Village Scam Alert" nor do we " endorse the blog "Nightcap Village Scam Alert".

The "anonymous" author is notorious and well known: Mark Darwin, a major shareholder in the project. He acted as marketing manager making false representations until recently thrown under the bus by his former partners in "unconventional business".

Under the futile guise of anonymity, Darwin now attempts to expose his former cohorts.

Darwin is himself under legal scrutiny for his alleged role in the land-share scam, charged with defrauding investors of over $2 million during 2014-16.


For more information pls see:
https://nightcapnightmare.blogspot.com/2018/11/justice-denied_5.html
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Thursday, 6 December 2018

Federal Court Stops Vincents Receivership


“The precepts of Natural Justice apply that affirm a natural sense of what is right and wrong.” Lord Esher, 1885

Report on Federal Court Hearing, December 3-6 

By Gi Linda

Steven Staatz, Vincents
A four day hearing set for December 3-6 in Qld Federal Court to decide an application for receivership by Vincents' liquidator Steven Staatz came to an embarrassing halt for Staatz on the third day, after conflict of interest by Vincents was exposed.

Staatz is requesting receivership of the company Wollumbin Horizons, disputed owner of a contested Mt Burrell property, now designated as part of Nightcap Village/ Bhula Bhula International Community.

Adrian Brennock with Tyler Tolman at "Nightcap Village"
Adrian Brennock, Tyler Tolman at "Nightcap Village"
Staatz is alleged to be facilitating an illegal phoenix move enabling Adrian Brennock, company director and fiduciary to the estate, to retain private ownership of the property, while continuing to operate a lucrative land-share scam.

Collaborators include neighbouring landowner, Peter van Lieshout, brother of Queenslands' top billionaire, Super A-Mart founder, John van Lieshout. The venture is promoted by American health celebrities Don Tolman and son Tyler.

Ian McKinnon Vincents Chartered Accountants
Ian McKinnon, alleged conflict of interest
Barrister Ian McKinnon joined Vincents Chartered Accountants in 2002 as a forensic accountant with particular focus on financial crime. In 2016-17, Nightcap Village FAQ was sent to potential investors, listing Vincents and Ian McKinnon as professional advisors to Nightcap Village.

When previously questioned about conflict of interest, Staatz and McKinnon  denied any prior association and Brennock dismissed the naming of Vincents and McKinnon as advisors to Nightcap Village as "a mistake".
Nightcap Village FAQ lists Vincents as advisors
Nightcap Village FAQ lists Vincents as advisors


Collusion between Vincents and Brennock was revealed by defrauded investor Ron Berry at the Federal Court hearing, with evidence that Vincents' Ian McKinnon was deeply associated with Brennock.

Contrary to denial by Staatz and McKinnon, further testimony by Brennock's former partner, Mark Darwin, confirmed long-term friendship and collaboration between Vincents' McKinnon and Brennock prior to initiation of liquidation by Vincents and appointment of Staatz as administrator.

Phoenix Activity


Phoenixing, causing more than $5 billion annual loss to the Australian economy, has become an easy way for directors to burn an indebted company, revive the same business under a changed name and defeat creditor claims. See The Rise of the Phoenix.

Corporate regulators, ASIC, ARITA and the courts usually turn a blind eye, as phoenix activity operates in a permissive twilight of white-collar crime under shadow of law. AccountantsDaily reports one rare case where illegal operators have come under a spotlight. The Federal Court has commenced public examinations on entities connected to one dodgy pre-insolvency adviser: Suspected dodgy advisers, directors head to court after ATO swoop.

Vincents' convicted  liquidator Stuart Ariff
Vincents' convicted  liquidator Stuart Ariff
Vincents is still smarting from NSW District Court's conviction of liquidator Stuart Ariff in 2011, on 19 criminal charges involving phoenix activity.

Ariff was ordered to pay $4.97 million compensation and jailed for six years, but paroled in 2015. His trial by jury triggered a Senate inquiry into the insolvency industry in 2010, though little changed as a result. See ASIC report.

If successful, the intended phoenix move by Vincents and Brennock would transfer land title to Brennock in his private capacity and divest over $2.2 million in liabilities and debts to defrauded investors, including myself and more than twenty others.

Since Staatz initiated the Federal Court hearing in January 2017, Judge Derrington has indicated intention to allow Staatz to sell the land with a lien covering his fees and legal costs. Instead, evidence of conflict of interest by Vincents forces a closer look at a notorious legal loophole that allows corporate crime to flourish with impunity.

The Federal Court hearing was halted a day early, on December 5th by Judge Derrington, with orders that Staatz provide to the Court by December 21 an explanation regarding evidence of conflict of interest.

Defendants must respond by January 25 and a further hearing is listed for February 25, 2019.

Meanwhile, investors whose class action for proprietary relief and cross-claim against Staatz in June 2018 was summarily dismissed as "scandalous" with no hearing and a suppression order over Court documents are preparing an appeal to the High Federal Court charging Staatz and Brennock with criminal activity.




Thursday, 8 November 2018

Justice Denied


By Gi Linda --

Nightcap Village sells a dream:
"Become an eco home owner - join Australia's future thinking alternative communities. Respect the planet and make a wise property investment at the same time."

Deceptive marketing. Three years ago I bought that lie, and now pay the price and suffer the loss with justice denied.

Gillian Linda Norman - Gi Linda
Gi Linda, defrauded investor
I am Gillian Linda Norman, known as Gi Linda. I'm an award-winning documentary filmmaker and former researcher/reporter for BBC tv/radio and the London Sunday Times. 

I am one of 21 ingenuous property investors who swallowed the snake oil, made a "wise property investment" to become "an eco home owner" in a Mt Burrell community, and became trapped in an audacious Australian land-share scam.

Since 2015 I have been attempting to recover my lost investment, battling blog wars and dancing on a tilted stage seeking justice at Murwillumbah Local Court, NSW Supreme Court and Qld Federal Court. 

Mt Burrell Land-Share Scam

 

The fraud is run by finance manager Adrian Brennock, who runs an “unconventional business” of selling home-sites without development approval on environmentally protected land where dwelling is prohibited.

Mark Darwin selling pre-DA home-sites at Mt Burrell in 2015
selling pre-DA home-sites at Mt Burrell in 2015
Plan of home-sites sold without development approval

Don Tolman and son Tyler promote pre-DA home sales
Failure of "Bhula Bhula Community Village" in 2016 left investors with only broken dreams of dream homes, fleeced of about $2.2 million.  

As angry investors were evicted, Brennock took control of the property and the Mt Burrell land-share scam continued and expanded with promotion by American health celebrities Don and Tyler Tolman.

In 2016, the imagined "Community Village" was re-named "Mt Warning Eco Village", then "NightCap Village” and "Nightcap on Minjungbal Holistic Village". 

Property owner, Peter van Lieshout
Peter van Lieshout
Brennock extended the scam from the usurped property at 3222 Kyogle Rd to include a 3,200 acre property owned by neighbor Peter van Lieshout, whose wife, Joan van Lieshout, is former Mayor of Tweed Shire, and whose brother is Queensland's top billionaire, Super A-Mart founder and successful property developer, John van Lieshout.

John van Lieshout, Queensland's Top Billionaire
Currently, in 2018, Brennock continues his unconventional business of selling home-sites on properties at Mt Burrell without development approval. Partnering with landowner Peter van Lieshout as majority shareholder, sale of pre-DA home-sites and “swap-outs” now involves more than 20 companies with interlocking directorships and shareholdings.

Perhaps the clamor of defrauded investors is easier to ignore when the rich and famous are associated and a quick profit from "unconventional business" is at stake? 

John van Lieshout, brother of Nightcap Village majority shareholder, Peter van Lieshout

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Monday, 5 November 2018

Truthology - A Matrix of Lies

By Gi Linda --

Mark Darwin, a professional “wealth creator,” and mortgage broker Adrian Brennock claimed to be “freemen” or “sovereign citizens" to whom, they believed, Australia’s laws do not apply. 

Adrian Brennock hides under the anonymity of pseudonyms "Mr X" or "AB" - "Andrew Brennon". Although claiming to be a plumber by trade, ASIC records show that until 2018 he was director of “Your Wealth Advisor,” a Gold Coast mortgage and loan brokerage.


From 2013-16  Mark Darwin published a  website “Truthology”  that was removed after an associated land-share scam was exposed. 
 
 
Screenshot of Truthology website before removal in 2016
Truthology website, 2015
From 2014 until 2016,  Darwin and Brennock advertised a tax avoidance advisory service, held public meetings in major cities and sponsored annual events called “Freedom Summits,” where they solicited funds to establish “Bhula Bhula Community Village”. 

They appealed to "future thinking alternative communities to become eco home owners -  respect the planet and make a wise property investment..."


“Selected” investors, mostly young families, were invited by Darwin and Brennock to provide their life-savings in supposed exchange for shared ownership of the Mt Burrell property.




Byron Echo advertisement -- selling home-sites without development approval

"Together in Harmony"

 

"Wealth Creator" Mark Darwin
During 2014-15, Mark Darwin told potential investors that development approval was in process, and shared ownership of Mt Burrell properties would be established through membership in an Incorporated Association called “Together in Harmony”.
Adrian Brennock,"AB"
Loan Broker Adrian Brennock,"AB"

Trust was betrayed when Adrian Brennock paid for the property using investors' funds, buying the land through his private company, Wollumbin Horizons Pty Ltd, that was trading as a fake trust, "Bhula Bhula Village Community Trust,” being purported “trustee” of another unexecuted trust, "Bhula Bhula Community Village Trust”.

Co-ownership of the estate was not transferred by Brennock to members of the Incorporated Association, as promised. Trust Deeds were not signed and no asset was ever transferred to the fake trusts.

Brennock appointed himself director of the company, issued himself a sole $1 shareholding and claimed personal ownership of title to the 640 acre agricultural property at 3222 Kyogle Rd, Mt Burrell, that had been paid for by 21 defrauded investors in exchange for promised co-ownership.


Deceived by sophistry and the mendacity of "Truthology", "future thinking ethical investors" who parted with hard-earned wealth to bring the dream to life, were  suddenly re-defined as "contributors" to "Bhula Bhula Community" being supposed "Unit Holders” in a pseudo trust with no assets -- owners of nothing. 

Bank records and emails show that Brennock registered a mortgage over the property on July 30, 2015, at the same time as payment was made for the property.
 

An adjoining commercial property at Mt Burrell, including Sphinx Rock Cafe, shops, a servo and a caravan park, was also purchased privately using investors’ designated funds, loans and superannuation payments that were held in trust by "community lawyer," Wroth Wall, Wall & Co, with promised co-ownership of property denied.

Sphinx Rock Cafe, Mt Burrell
Sphinx Rock Cafe, Mt Burrell
Mt Burrell land-share scam
Failed Marketing Promises

Fraudulent Mortgage


On June 7, 2017, Adrian Brennock, acting as an unregistered loan broker, executed a second mortgage of $1,225,000 over the property at 3222 Kyogle Rd, Mt Burrell.

Brennock then loaned the equity to his partner in "unconventional business", mortgagor Phillip Dixon, under condition that Brennock, as mortgagee, would obtain land title by receiving first right to a "registered mortgage over the mortgaged land".
Mortgagor Phillip Dixon

With promised “vendor finance” provided by the mortgagee, an undated contract for sale of the property for $2,225,000, a million over market value, was signed between mortgagee Adrian Brennock and mortgagor Phillip Dixon, co-director with Peter van Lieshout of Mt Warning Eco Village / Nightcap Village, causing evident loss to all defrauded investors.

On July 4, 2017, one month after Brennock executed the mortgage--loan agreement to remove equity from the land,  Brennock assigned the company Wollumbin Horizons to liquidation with Steven Staatz of Vincents Chartered Accountants, on a “presumption” of insolvency.

The proposed land sale is therefore a "phoenix action," as defined by ASIC, intended to defeat liabilities with transfer of the land asset to a different company operating the same business of selling home-sites without development approval.

Although impartial justice would restore co-proprietary rights to all defrauded investors who paid purchase money for the property, Vincents’ liquidator, Steven Staatz, refused to recognize objections that land title was acquired fraudulently by Brennock.

Favored investors were promised their lost life savings would be fully refunded if they agreed to vote for voluntary liquidation, allowing sale of the company's land asset back to Brennock.
 Liquidator Staatz also advised contingent creditors that it would be in their "best interest" to vote for his receivership of the company, anticipating that sale of the land back to Brennock for $1 million above market value would be settled by December 6, 2017.
Voting for their own demise, all except four investors agreed to voluntary administration, in detrimental reliance on the false promises made by Darwin and Staatz.
 
By December 2017 the contract for $2.225 million was not fulfilled.

A year later in 2018, the supposed contract has not been completed. Brennock continues insolvent trading, using a tour bus to sell pre-DA home-sites in “NightCap Village,” including property belonging to Peter van Lieshout and the property in dispute.

Meanwhile, defrauded investors who have been denied justice must defend their rights on December 4th, 2018, at Brisbane Federal Court, in a four-day hearing that will expose the dark underbelly of the beastly fraud.


"Truth is turned away"

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Deception


By Gi Linda--

I fully accept responsibility for my error. I suspected the charming blue-eyed visionary was lying when he told me that due to a great spiritual epiphany he was no longer a dishonorable money-grubbing bankster, but had become an honest man. Warning bells rang loud and clear, but I didn't want to hear.

I am one the investors who were defrauded of land ownership by Adrian Brennock after paying in total over $2 million for purchase of properties, including the iconic Sphinx Rock Cafe at Mt Burrell, NSW.

Between February-July 2015, I was twice taken to view property at Mt Burrell and offered membership of an intentional community with co-ownership of the land, including a 3-acre home site for private use and shared use of the rest of the land.
 
Mark Darwin sells home-sites without development approval in 2015
Prospective investors were informed that:

— the proposed development was under advisement of community lawyer Wroth Wall and Czech lawyer Michal Hachek with support of investors at Nobel Law;
— multiple occupancy was permissible;
— town planners were employed;
— development approval for the project was in process;
— temporary dwellings would be allowed by Tweed Shire Council.

All these representations later proved false.

In July 2015, I was invited by co-founder and marketing manager Mark Darwin to invest in the “last available home-site” in reliance on his personal promises. In the absence of a written contractual agreement, Darwin presented an unsigned deed to a supposed trust with an “application” for a “unit,” which I did not sign.

I was dubious from the outset, alerted by online complaints, and I was concerned about the strangely convoluted legal structure he proposed as a means of establishing investor co-ownership of the properties he was offering.

Reassured only by the involvement of Wroth Wall, Michal Hachek and Nobel Law, local lawyers of good repute, in August 2015, I paid $120,000 to the trust account of community Lawyer Wroth Wall  for shared ownership and use of the properties. I then began to live on the Mt Burrell property in a Fiat Ducato mobile home and cultivated a garden with flowers and vegetables, as permissible under zoning regulations.

Gi's Garden, 2015
Gi's Garden, 2015
However, after my funds were paid for purchase of the Mt Burrell properties, I did not receive a receipt of payment. No interest in land was registered, as expected. Within two months those who asked for accountability faced bullying hostility, as Adrian Brennock appeared to rise to the position of a reckless cult leader in the emerging community.

By October 2015, co-ownership of the properties had not been transferred to investors as promised. Brennock provoked internal conflicts by making ad hominem attacks and false accusations against those who attempted to oppose them or expose their mendacity.

Mark Darwin's new motor bike
Mark Darwin new motor bike
A finance committee established by investors to provide financial oversight reported that money was missing and short-term loans had not been repaid, while Brennock refused accountability and hid all bank statements. Investors who asked questions about evident fiduciary misconduct were denigrated, menaced and marginalized.

I was very quickly disillusioned by the failure of Brennock to fulfill marketing representations. All investors had been promised co-ownership of the properties through membership of an Incorporated Association. Instead, the properties were bought, using investors’ funds, through private companies in which Brennock maintained controlling directorships and shareholdings. 

Observing that finance was being misappropriated and that Brennock was attempting to leverage assets purchased with investors’ funds to profit financially and to acquire private ownership of multiple properties, I requested restitution of my investment. When restitution was denied, I withdrew from the community but continued to cultivate my garden on the property.


In February 6, 2016, without advising me or allowing a response, Brennock called for a vote to evict me from the property without return of my investment. The vote was rejected.

This polarized investors and split the community. Some supported Brennock regardless of his breach of promise and enabled the cultish control he was imposing. Followers agreed to allow Brennock’s private control of land title in exchange for permission to reside on the land in unapproved dwellings as unregistered “unit holders” in an unexecuted trust that owned nothing.

Illegal dwelling at Bhula Bhula Community, 2016

I was intimidated by the menacing behaviour of Brennock and his false accusations against me. I left the property on February 7, 2016 and sought legal help. I was advised that since litigation to recover my investment would be costly and probably futile, I  should file a fraud report with police, which I did, but the report was ignored.

In March 2016, Nobel Law warned of deceptive conduct by Brennock; they advised investors that no development application had been made with Tweed Shire Council, and that a report by town planner Darrell Andersen had been hidden by Brennock. Contrary to marketing representations, the report reveals that under State zoning regulations, multiple occupancy is prohibited on the property at 3222 Kyogle Rd, which is also protected as potential rainwater catchment.

Ten investors, realizing they had been defrauded, decided to exit Bhula Bhula Community  Village, and demanded restitution for non-fulfilment of marketing promises. 

After unsuccessfully attempting to negotiate a settlement, Nobel Law prepared a class action. In response, Brennock initiated an investigation of Nobel Law by the Law Society. The false charges were later dismissed, but instigation of the investigation effectively stopped the intended class action.

In August 2016, a year after taking my money, I was advised by puppet director in employ of Brennock, Steven McSween, that my “application” to join the Community was rejected without restitution. Three others who had also requested accountability received similar rejection notices from Brennock and McSween.

On October 4, 2016,  the Nimbin GoodTimes newspaper published my exposé, “The Truth About Truthology,” and I began reporting the events of the alleged fraud in an online blog on behalf of defrauded investors at thetruthabouttruthology.blogspot.com and mountwarningecovillagescam.blogspot.com.


The blogs warned that investors were bereft of life savings after responding to the deceptive “ethical investment opportunity” involving sale of home-sites without development approval on environmentally protected land where multiple occupancy is not permitted.

Darwin and Brennock reacted by filing defamation charges against me and Nimbin GoodTimes in NSW Supreme Court. Complaining that the article and the blogs caused their "unconventional business" financial loss, they demanded over $4 million compensation.

In bringing a malicious defamation case against me, Mark Darwin, Adrian Brennock, Phillip Dixon, Steven McSween and their lawyers, Stone Group all made false charges in perjured affidavits. They admit it has so far cost them more than $260,000 to avoid repaying the $120,000 that I mistakenly invested with them.

In 2017, they twice brought urgent injunctions requesting the blogs be removed by court order. They withdrew the first injunction when Justice Lucy McCallum began to unravel the fraud.  The second injunction including charges of injurious falsehood by Mt Warning Eco Village/Nightcap Village, was defeated with representation by Kieran Smark SC, after I received a successful referral to the Bar Association Pro Bono scheme. Costs were awarded against Darwin, but nothing has been paid.

It is my contention that the defamation claim is an abuse of process known as a "SLAPP action," Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation. The plaintiffs did not expect that all the evidence of the land-share scam would be revealed in an open court before an honest Judge. The action is a means of harassment, intended to crush me and warn other defrauded victims to keep silent.

The  final judgement of the defamation case, Darwin v Norman, is listed for a 7 day hearing in August 2019. My defence is truth.


In 2016, Tweed Shire Council initiated legal action in the Land and Environment Court to enforce compliance with removal of unauthorized dwellings. Brennock and Dixon stalled Council’s action and continued for a year, until mid 2017, to sell “home-sites” without development approval.

Scoffing at court directions, Brennock's defiant followers made secrecy pacts and stayed on the property. Some built camps, others constructed permanent residences. After Tweed Council settled with Brennock, his supporters were evicted and their homes  dismantled.

Phillip Morandini's yurt at Bhula Bhula Community, 2017
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Friday, 2 November 2018

Truth Is No Defense


By Gi Linda --

Without informing creditors, in January 2018, Vincents' liquidator Steven Staatz initiated an application in Qld Federal Court requesting appointment as receiver of Wollumbin Horizons authorized to wind up the company, sell its property and exercise a lien over the estate to pay himself and his legal team at Patane Lawyers.

During case management hearings, Docket Judge Derrington refused to allow objections that the Court was being asked to facilitate phoenix action based on errors of fact presented in perjured affidavits. He also refused to hear objections that granting of receivership to Staatz would be a misapplication of law, since legal title to the estate was acquired fraudulently by Brennock, and so is defeasible.

Because of this denial of procedural fairness, a cross-claim
was initiated against Vincents’ liquidator, Staatz, as a representative action on behalf of 16 defrauded investors.

At the hearing of joinder of parties to the cross-claim,
Docket Judge Derrington dismissed the cross-claim as “scandalous and vexatious” without hearing evidence, and issued a suppression order over all related court documents. 

A final hearing of Staatz’ application for receivership, promising sale of the land back to Brennock, is listed for December 4, 2018, without any unsecured creditors being admitted as legitimate. The sole secured creditor, with a $1 share, is mortgagee Adrian Brennock, who asserts his claim to ongoing ownership of land title by holding the first right to a registered mortgage over the property that he mortgaged.

Seven "unit holders"
in the pseudo-trust, promised return of their life savings by Darwin and Staatz in exchange for facilitating the phoenix move, have been twice warned by Derrington J that their expectation is unrealistic, but, assisted by comedian Mark Swivel who moonlights in practice of law, they persist in requesting recompense for themselves exclusively.

Knowing that Darwin and Brennock commit perjury with impunity, having experienced the intimidation of their bullying, bereft of life-savings and unable to afford representation, other defrauded investors observe that the supposed “justice” system habitually favors the dominant commercial interest, in this case wielding the double-edged sword of cold injustice to further disenfranchise victims of crime.

Most now conclude that Natural Justice is denied in Australia's Federal Court, and, after their cross-claim as a class action was thrown out and suppressed without hearing evidence, some have given up hope. Others are preparing an appeal.


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Friday, 31 August 2018

The Rise of the Phoenix

"He who was but now the sire comes forth from the pyre the son and successor;
Between life and life lay but that brief space wherein the pyre burned."
Claudian, The Phoenix  (Roman poet, 4AD) 

 By Gi Linda -

According to legend heard at Heliopolis in Egypt, there exists a fabulous bird called the phoenix, like an eagle, with feathers of red and gold. When this bird's life draws to a close he builds a funeral pyre, commits himself to the flames and dies. Out of self-immolation a maggot emerges and a new phoenix appears on the fiery altar

In modern commerce the phoenix bird is an icon, inspiring businesses burned by debts to rise from the ashes of destruction and continue trading under a different name, leaving their creditors behind

Phoenixing is illegal, but that's not much of a deterrent, and it's become a booming business for delinquent company directors and their facilitators, insolvency liquidators, lawyers and judges.

As the Australian government promises to legislate new phoenix offenses to deter illegal phoenixing, a case now in Qld Federal Court is challenging alleged phoenix moves by Vincents liquidator Steven Staatz and company director Adrian Brennock, that involves 21 defrauded investors who paid more than $2 million as intended co-owners of property in a NSW community land-share venture.

The economic impact of illegal phoenix activity

An Australian Inter-Agency Phoenix Taskforce made up of 29 government agencies aims to reduce the impact of illegal phoenix activity. In July 2018, the Phoenix Taskforce published a report, The Economic Impacts of Potential Illegal Phoenix Activity, that defines as illegal phoenix activity the deliberate and systematic liquidation of a corporate trading entity which occurs with the intention to continue the operation and profit taking of the business through other trading entities, while avoiding liabilities:

"Phoenix companies arise from the ‘ashes’ of a collapse of a commercial entity, leaving behind a trail of avoided outstanding payments to tax authorities, creditors, businesses, customers and employees."

According to the report, the annual impact of illegal phoenix activity is now over $5 billion a year

Thirteen Commonwealth government agencies, including ASIC, the ATO and  Fair Work Ombudsman have powers to investigate and prosecute "phoenix activity" or "phoenixing". But usually they don't.

Australian courts have absolute authority to stop illegal phoenix activity and to impose penalties on delinquent directors and liquidators. But, usually they don't, as self-represented defrauded investors challenging Vincents' liquidator Steven Staatz discovered when a Brisbane Federal Court Judge refused to hear their evidence of phoenix activity, and slapped a suppression order on their request for justice.

Curbing the Flight of the Phoenix describes how phoenix moves are used by companies in insolvency to divest liabilities:

"Like the mythical bird that dies and then resurrects, phoenixing is the deliberate liquidation of a company to avoid paying tax, creditors or employees and then the ‘resurrection’ of the business through a different entity. It is illegal. The negative impact of insolvency is magnified by phoenixing, which enables a company that owes money to creditors and employees to restart without paying its debts.
 
"Regulators are aware of the problem. ASIC announced in September it will conduct surveillance of 1,400 target companies and approximately 2,500 individuals... Concurrently, the ATO announced it will investigate 2,000 property developers..."

Jotham Lian reports at accountantsdaily.com.au:

Suspected dodgy advisers, directors head to court after ATO swoop

"The Federal Court has commenced public examinations on entities connected to a dodgy pre-insolvency adviser, in a move welcomed as shining the light on illegal operators.

"ATO deputy commissioner Will Day has confirmed that more than 45 service providers, clients, employees, and alleged ‘dummy directors’ of phoenix companies connected to pre-insolvency adviser Philip Whiteman will be examined in the Federal Court on the grounds of suspected promotion and facilitation of phoenix activities and tax schemes."

Until now very little has curbed the rise of the phoenix as companies in default increasingly use liquidation as a means to divest liabilities.

Australian Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association (ARITA) chief executive John Winter told Accountants Daily:

“These unregulated and almost-always unqualified advisers promote their wares to often unsuspecting people who are in financial distress, and what they offer them is generally illegal solutions...They are a scourge on the economy, ripping off creditors, employees and taking advantage of people at their weakest moments. The message needs to be sent to these so-called advisers and the directors who use them that they will be found out and prosecuted.”


The Flight of the Phoenix

By Gi Linda-

In Australian courts, news reports and blogs, victims of "Nightcap Nightmare" are warning that sovereignty activists Mark Darwin and Adrian Brennock are selling home sites with idyllic views of Mt Warning on environmentally protected property without development approval.

Victims of Nightcap Nightmare warn that "Freemen" Darwin and Brennock scammed them of life savings, inheritances and much goodwill, making false promises muscled by contrived urgency to induce payment of money into a dubious land-share venture cloaked as a visionary initiative managed by credible and trustworthy professionals.

Under a functional legal system, such dishonest scamsters would be stopped, but Nightcap Nightmare has confronted justice for more than three years in four jurisdictions: the Supreme Court, Federal Court, Magistrates Court and the Land and Environment Court. As "Freemen" they expect the courts to bow to them.

During 2014-15, Adrian Brennock and Mark Darwin solicited “interest” from investors at public events and secured finance without adequate contractual procedure.
Potential investors attracted by online marketing, public presentations and private meetings with Mark Darwin, were deceived by promises about legal advisers, legal structures and process, financial management, potential and permissible land use, property management and the status of development applications for land-share occupancy.

The required payment was $40,000 from mid 2014, then rose to $80,000 in February 2015 and increased to $120,000 by July 2015, with uncertain caps on the maximum number of intended participants.

During 2014-15, Investors provided $1,913,000 in purchase monies for Land, with additional loans and payments of superannuation. These purchase monies were not registered. Most were held on trust by “Community Lawyer” Wroth Wall, principal of Wall & Company Lawyers.