Couple faces prison over ponzi-style scam

A ponzi-style investment scheme that defrauded Collingwood Magpies fans out of more than $800,000 has seen one man convicted on dishonesty charges while his wife is already serving time for fraud offences.

Douglas Johnston was found guilty on nine dishonesty charges, brought against him following an investigation by ASIC.

He and his wife Maureen ran a dodgy investment scheme that resulted in $815,000 being defrauded from investors they had met through the Collingwood Football Club.

The money the Johnstons collected for "investments" was deposited into the bank account of Small Business Management Pty Ltd on the basis that the couple's fellow Collingwood supporters would soon see returns.

Instead, the Johnstons withdrew the money as cash, used it to repay their credit card debts, transferred it straight into Maureen Johnston's personal account and used it to pay deposits in what ASIC labelled a "ponzi-style" operation.

Douglas Johnston has been bailed ahead of appearing before the County Court of Victoria for a plea and sentencing hearing later this month. He could face 10 years in prison for each offence.

His wife is already serving time in prison after being sentenced to five years and six months prison last year following an ASIC investigation into Small Business Management Pty Ltd and Investman Nominees.

ASIC found Maureen Johnston was deceiving victims into investing money in bogus property developments in Australia and the US.

The funds she procured for investment purposes were actually spent gambling at Crown Casino in Melbourne and paying off her credit card debt.

Maureen Johnston pleaded guilty to obtaining financial advantage by deception totalling $1,027,000.

The victims of her investment scam also met the Johnstons through the Collingwood football club.

When Maureen Johnston was sentenced, the presiding judge said Maureen Johnston was "intentionally dishonest and blatantly opportunistic" and noted that her victims included the couple's house cleaner and patient who Maureen Johnston has met in hospital.

The judge said one of the victim's descriptions of Maureen Johnston as "absolutely ghoulish, atrocious and heartless" was completely understandable.

Read more: USMaureen JohnstonASICJohnstonsCollingwood MagpiesDouglas JohnstonSmall Business Management Pty LtdCollingwood Football ClubAustraliaCounty Court of Victoria forCrown CasinoInvestman NomineesMelbourne
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