Air con man in million dollar fraud17th October 2022
AUSTRALIA: A former air conditioning company boss has pleaded guilty to two charges of fraud totalling AUD$1,092,500.33 (US$687m).
Steven Phillip Heaton of South Melbourne, Victoria, was a former director of Independent Products Pty Ltd and HVPS Holdings Pty Ltd. The companies, one now deregistered and the other currently in liquidation, were incorporated to commercialise an air conditioning invention that claimed to have significant energy efficiencies.
An investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission found that on or about 9 November 2015, Heaton made false representations to an investor about the claimed energy efficiencies produced by the air conditioner and that BHP Billiton Ltd (as it was then known) had agreed to purchase 100 units for its mining operations in Queensland, when this was not the case.
Based on his representations, the investor loaned Independent Products Pty Ltd $117,500.
Between about 31 August 2015 and about 20 January 2017, Heaton made similar false statements to a number of investors who collectively invested a total of $975,000.33 with Independent Products Pty Ltd and HVPS Holdings Pty Ltd.
Heaton faces a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment for breaching section 82(1) of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) and a maximum fifteen years imprisonment for breaching section 191(1) of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic)