Former van Eyk Research Pty Ltd CEO Mark Peter Thomas has been sentenced to one year and three months’ imprisonment, to be served by way of an Intensive Correction Order, for using his position as a director dishonestly with the intention of directly or indirectly obtaining an advantage for himself.
As part of his sentence, Mr Thomas was ordered to complete 250 hours of community service.
Between about 31 January 2014 and 20 February 2014, Mr Thomas dishonestly used his position as director of New Zealand-based van Eyk Research subsidiary Blueprint Investment Management Limited (Blueprint) by recommending and facilitating Blueprint investing nearly $5 million in a separate fund, the Wholesale Enhanced Income Fund. The funds were then loaned to another company, TAA Melbourne Pty Ltd, to purchase an interest in van Eyk Research, of which Mr Thomas was also CEO. By doing this, Mr Thomas used his position as a director dishonestly with the intention of directly or indirectly gaining an advantage for himself.
These transactions prevented a third party from gaining control of van Eyk Research, ensuring that Mr Thomas was able to remain as CEO and Chief Investment Officer of van Eyk Research .
In sentencing Mr Thomas, Judge Bourke described his conduct as ‘complex and sophisticated’, and noted that Mr Thomas ‘breached his position of trust and responsibility’. Judge Bourke also observed that, although there was no investor loss, Mr Thomas ‘exposed managed funds to risk.’
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Judge Bourke took into consideration Mr Thomas’ guilty plea, the loss of his career in financial services, and that as a result of his conviction he will be banned from managing a corporation for five years.