William O’Dwyer, the ex-managing director of firms within the Ralan Group companies, has entered a guilty plea for six offenses under section 192E of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) after an investigation by ASIC.
The corporate regulator said that between April 17, 2015, and June 6, 2018, O’Dwyer deceitfully acquired the ability for Ralan Group companies to access $251 million in financing.
The Ralan Group is a Sydney-based entity that sold, developed, and managed companies from 2014 to 2019. In July 2019, the group’s companies entered voluntary administration and were subsequently placed in liquidation by March 6, 2020. The liquidator estimated that the Ralan Group owed unsecured creditors $323 million in November 2019.
The charges stemmed from loans provided to Ralan Group companies involved in residential development projects in Sydney, Arncliffe, Turramurra, and Gordon. These loans required proof that pre-sale deposits from property buyers were held in trust before loan drawdowns were allowed.
“O’Dwyer deceived the lenders into believing that the pre-sale deposits were held in a trust account, when in fact they had been loaned by the purchasers back to the respective development company for use as working capital,” ASIC said in a media release.
“Approximately $132 million was drawn down upon the facilities, with approximately $47 million repaid by the time the companies in the Ralan Group went into administration in July 2019. A further amount is expected to be recouped by the lenders following their purchase and development of the Arncliffe property.”
O’Dwyer’s initial court appearance was on July 25, at the Downing Centre Local Court. He later admitted guilt on Aug. 22. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for Dec. 7, at the New South Wales District Court.
The case is being prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions after a referral from ASIC.
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