On 16 June 2022, Brent Lindsay Smith and Fue Hiedi Mano of St Albans, Victoria, and Mahmoud Khodr of Melbourne, Victoria, appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court charged with criminal directors’ duties breaches relating to ‘interest-free’ mortgages offered by Remedy Housing Pty Ltd.
It is alleged that between November 2019 and February 2021, the directors and officers of Remedy Housing, Mr Smith, Mr Khodr and Ms Mano, dishonestly represented to consumers that:
- Remedy Housing would provide a consumer with an ‘interest-free mortgage’ and title to a home within 12 months of payment of a deposit of at least $10,000 ;
- if Remedy Housing could not provide a home to the consumer within 12 months, the deposit would be refunded in full;
- Remedy Housing was financed by overseas investors, including financing from former Samoan international rugby union player Trevor Leota. (Mr Leota has not been charged in these proceedings.)
It is alleged that Remedy Housing had no investors or funders and that the funds acquired by Remedy Housing were used to operate and promote the scheme or were transferred to the personal accounts of the company directors and officers.
Mr Smith is charged with five offences of dishonestly using his position as a director of Remedy Housing. .
Mr Khodr is charged with one offence of dishonestly using his position as a director and officer of Remedy Housing.
Mr Smith and Mr Khodr are each jointly charged with dishonestly using their position.
Ms Mano is charged with twelve offences of dishonestly using her position as an officer of Remedy Housing.
The matter is being prosecuted by the CDPP after an investigation and referral by ASIC.
The maximum penalty for each offence of dishonest use of position as a director or officer is up to 15 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $765,000.
Remedy Housing was operated by Mr Smith and Mr Khodr as director and secretary respectively, with Ms Mano and Mr Leota also involved in the business, including by promoting to consumers, primarily from Pacific Islander communities in Australia and New Zealand.
On 17 June 2021, ASIC moved to shut down Remedy Housing and successfully obtained interim orders and injunctions from the Federal Court against Mr Smith, Mr Khodr, Mr Leota and Remedy Housing (21-149MR).
Moneysmart.gov.au has information to help consumers with property investments and home loans.