Sterling Group founder Raymond Jones, his son Ryan Jones, and director Simon Bell are each facing several criminal charges following ASIC’s investigation into the Sterling Income Trust (SIT) and the collapse of the Sterling First group of companies.
In an announcement from ASIC, it said the three appeared in the Perth Magistrates Court on 3 November 2023.
Ryamond Jones and Bell are facing 11 charges for helping Sterling Corporate Services carry out dishonest activities related to a financial product or service, which goes against section 1041G of the Corporations Act. If they are found guilty of this offense during the time of the alleged wrongdoing, they could potentially be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and/or fined up to 45,000 penalty units.
Ryan Jones, the son of Raymond, has also been charged with 10 charges of aiding and abetting Sterling Corporate Services to engage in dishonest conduct in relation to a financial product or service.
From 2016, the Sterling Group offered a long-term residential lease to retirees and seniors called a Sterling New Life Lease (SNLL). Purchasing a SNLL required an upfront investment to be made in the SIT to fund ongoing lease payments.
The Sterling First group of companies collapsed in May 2019. Following this, many SNLL tenants found themselves homeless as they were unable to meet lease payments under the SNLL.
Sterling Group became a catalyst for Minister for Financial Services Stephen Jones to launch the MIS review.