Brett Tony Best of Middle Park, Brisbane, has been sentenced to 13 years imprisonment for various charges related to operating an unregistered managed investment scheme while director of Arafura Equities.

This follows Best being remanded in custody on 11 May after he pleaded guilty to one charge of operating an unregistered managed investment scheme; one charge of dishonestly gaining a financial advantage for himself worth AUD30,000; and six charges of dishonestly gaining a financial advantage for Arafura totalling AUD330,000.

Best’s guilty plea followed an investigation by Australian Securities and Investments Commission into the operation and promotion of an illegal managed investment scheme operated by Arafura from 2003 which involved the trading of funds on foreign currency markets.

The investigation found that Arafura, Best and promoters induced 200 clients, primarily located in south-east Queensland, to invest money in the scheme between January 2003 and August 2005.

The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. Best will not be eligible for parole until he has served four years and four months of his sentence.

Arafura was placed into voluntary administration by Best on 21 October 2005.

On 23 March 2006, ASIC obtained orders in the Supreme Court of Brisbane to wind up the company. Additional orders were made against Arafura, Best and the promoters of the scheme, Patricia Jenkins and Richard Harris.

On 21 January 2009, Jenkins pleaded guilty to three counts of dishonestly gaining a financial advantage of AUD132,000 for Jenkins Increase and was sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment to serve eight months before being eligible for parole.

On 5 May 2009, Harris pleaded guilty to one count of operating an unregistered managed investment scheme and was sentenced to one and a half years imprisonment. He was released immediately upon entering into a AUD2,000 good behaviour recognisance of one and a half years.


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