Gold Coast fund manager jailed for fraud

·2-min read

A Gold Coast fund manager who defrauded investors of nearly $300,000 has been jailed at the age of 72 after being investigated for more than a decade.

Roger Gareth Munro pleaded guilty to fraud in July last year on the day the matter was listed for trial for the fifth time.

But he then applied for those pleas to be set aside.

That application was refused by Brisbane District Court Judge Paul Smith last month.

Munro's body shook as he was sentenced in the same court on Tuesday, after first coming to the attention of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in December 2008.

No charges were laid over that investigation which ASIC closed in June 2011.

ASIC brought civil proceedings against Munro in 2015, but he was arrested in March 2017 and charged with five counts of fraud although two were discontinued.

The first trial listing in March 2019 was adjourned on Munro's request on medical grounds, and another adjournment related to a complainant receiving cancer treatment.

In July 2021 the trial was set down for three weeks, but Munro pleaded guilty to three charges relating to fraud committed over 13 months from November 2012.

The first relates to $39,6000 Francis Armstrong paid to Munro for investing in the TradeStation Futures Trading Fund on the promise of a return on the investment.

A second charge concerned $40,000 Catherine Heyer paid Munro to invest in the same fund, while the third relates to $220,000 paid to Munro by Gregory Von Harten.

Instead of investing the money Munro used some for personal expenses, withdrew cash and paid some into a trading account in his wife's name.

Judge Smith said statements from the Armstrongs and Mr Von Harten described the significant effect of the losses.

Munro's calculated conducted resulted in him defrauding unsophisticated investors of a significant amount of money, Judge Smith said.

The now 72-year-old has no previous convictions and has been living on a Centrelink pension in Casino, NSW with his wife of almost 50 years.

The court was told Munro has numerous health problems, including being diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2010 and a depressive disorder four years later.

But Judge Smith said these could be managed in jail.

He handed Munro a head sentence of four years and six months behind bars, ordering this be suspended after serving 15 months.

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