On 14 August 2014 former Certified Practising Accountant, 60-year-old Mark Letten of Melbourne was sentenced to gaol for 5 years and 8 months for:
- operating 21 unregistered property-related schemes on behalf of more than 900 investors over a period of 10 years, through which investors lost than $67 million
- carrying on an unlicensed financial services business
- dishonestly using $533,000 of investor funds for unauthorised purposes.
Mr Letten pleaded guilty to the following offences against the Corporations Act 2001:
- 21 charges of operating an unregistered Managed Investment Scheme, contrary to sections 601ED(5) and 1311(1)
- one charge of carrying on a financial services business without a licence, contrary to sections 911A & 1311(1)
- five charges of dishonestly using his position as company director with the intention of gaining an advantage for himself or others, contrary to section 184(2)(a).
In sentencing the offender, County Court Judge Michael McInerney said 'Letten’s business and accounting practices were a downward spiralling economic frolic - the 21 schemes were doomed to failure, an economic shamble and a shemozzle'.
'This whole enterprise, which was overseen by Mr Letten, had more severe structural defects than the Titanic. Like the Titanic, it sank ignominiously' added Judge McInerney.
The scale, duration and consequences of the offending were very significant sentencing factors.
Letten will serve a minimum term of 3 years gaol before becoming eligible for parole.