Accountant pleads guilty to $500k con

A LAKE Macquarie accountant and former financial adviser has pleaded guilty to fraud charges following an investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

Nicholas James Ellis, of Valentine, pleaded guilty in the Downing Centre District Court in Sydney to two charges of making false or misleading statements to obtain money from clients and fraudulent misappropriation of client funds, respectively.

Through his company Tura Pty Limited, Ellis admitted sending letters and an email to several of his clients from March to July 2009 in a bid to raise investment funds to buy a hotel in Tura on the NSW south coast, ASIC said.

Ellis fraudulently misappropriated $500,000 after sending the letters, which contained false and misleading statements in relation to the purchase of the hotel.

The maximum term of imprisonment for obtaining money by false and misleading statements is five years and for fraudulent misappropriation, the maximum is seven years.

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is prosecuting the matter.

Ellis is scheduled to be sentenced at the NSW District Court next April.

In 2013, the commission banned Ellis from providing financial advice services for six years.

The ruling followed a lengthy investigation by the commission that found Ellis had used an elderly client’s money to buy himself a piece of real estate and pay off his credit card.

Then, the commission found that Ellis had used $200,000 from the elderly client’s self-managed superannuation fund.

He was also found to have lied to a client about where he had invested their money, and to have engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct when writing letters to other clients.

All of those offences occurred between March 2009 and June 2010.

At the time, Ellis was a director of a number of companies, which traded out of premises at Hamilton.

They included 2020 Financial Solutions Pty Ltd and 2020 Accountancy Solutions Pty Ltd, which was also known as Ellis Business Accountants.