The former director of a company that was allegedly part of a scam to swindle millions of dollars from property investors has been granted bail in a Brisbane court.
Richard Marlborough, 52, was on Tuesday charged with dishonestly inducing victims to pay funds into accounts he controlled.
It follows an 11-month investigation into the directors of Members Alliance Group and construction firms owned by the company, including Image Building Group and Silverback Constructions .
Marlborough was granted conditional bail during a brief hearing in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday.
As part of the terms of his release, which police opposed on the grounds he was a flight risk, he was ordered to surrender his passport.
He has also been banned from contacting any former staff of Members Alliance.
Court documents show Marlborough is accused of using his position as a director of Image Building Group to “dishonesty induce” ANZ to pay the company $1,753,491.40.
Outside court, defence solicitor Daniel Hannay said Marlborough was happy to be granted bail and was going home to be with family.
“It’s an allegation of fraud for a company which at the time had 350 staff members, so it’s an extensive and complex police investigation,” he told reporters.
Marlborough would be defending the charge, he said.
Police allege the cold-call scam resulted in more than $2.2 million being dishonestly taken into the company for the construction of houses in Queensland and NSW.
Unknown to the investors, the loans they took out to have the properties built were then used to build properties the company had sold earlier in a Ponzi-style scam, police said.
It’s alleged the group sent investors photos of construction which sometimes didn’t even show the property they had purchased.
Members Alliance collapsed in July 2016 owing $30 million to various sources including investors, Gold Coast City Council and the Australian Taxation Office.
Police have received complaints from about 40 victims in Queensland and NSW but are confident there are more yet to come forward.
Most investors lost tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“It’s affected a lot of families,” Detective Superintendent Terry Lawrence told reporters.
He said it was “more than likely” others involved in the company would be charged.
“No legitimate company would cold call you and ask you to invest,” Det Supt Lawrence said.
“If you get cold-called, just hang up.”
Marlborough is due back in court on March 26.