A suburban accountant has fronted court after allegedly conspiring with a former business leader to make fraudulent transactions worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Jason Dermot Cullen, from Melbourne’s inner west, was charged with two counts of authorising the making of false or misleading document required under the Corporations Act.
An investigation by ASIC into satellite communications provider NewSat Limited – a formerly ASX-listed company – found evidence that Mr Cullen effectively covered up fraudulent transactions by authorising two invoices for accounting services that were false or misleading.
When raised with NewSat, the invoices were paid by the company into a private business with connections to NewSat’s former CEO, Adrian Ballintine.
NewSat’s payment of the two invoices amounted to $275,000. It is not clear what subsequently happened to those funds.
The charges against Mr Cullen each carry a maximum penalty of five years’ jail. A hearing will be held in March 2018.
According to ASIC, the actions took place back in 2012, prior to NewSat being liquidated in August 2015.
Media reports at the time suggest NewSat had been trying to launch a commercial satellite into space, but was ultimately buried under the weight of debts in the hundreds of millions.
It is not the first time an accountant has been dragged through the courts for professional impropriety, with a Perth accountant handed an eight-year jail term earlier this year for lodging fake tax returns in order to claim more than $2 million.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.