Mrs. Gela Anne Newitt, of Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, appeared in the County Court of Victoria on 27 August 2019 for a plea hearing.  Mrs. Newitt had previously pleaded guilty to obtaining a financial advantage by deception.

Mrs. Newitt was a former director of Parklane Assets Pty Ltd ACN 052365027 (Parklane) which operated the Mentone Gardens Supportive Care Home (Mentone Gardens), in Mentone Victoria.

An ASIC investigation found Mrs. Newitt dishonestly obtained a financial advantage for herself by falsely representing to residents of Mentone Gardens that their deposit monies would be held in a trust account and that interest earned from these monies would be used to reduce their accommodation fees. Instead, Mrs Newitt used around $600k of the deposit monies for business related expenses (17-209MR).

ASIC commenced its investigation after receiving a report lodged by the liquidator of Parklane, Roger Grant of Dye & Co Pty Ltd. ASIC assisted the Liquidator to prepare the supplementary report and provided funding from the Assetless Administration Fund.

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is prosecuting the matter.

Background

Mentone Gardens is a 42-room aged care facility located in Mentone, Victoria.  Parklane was placed in liquidation in 2013, owing many residents, their families and other creditors, over $4.5 million.

As a result of this failure, an investigation was also conducted by the Victorian Ombudsman into Department of Health oversight of Mentone Gardens.

Mrs. Newitt has been charged with one count under section 82(1) of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic). The penalty is a maximum 10 years jail.

Mrs Newitt had entered a guilty plea on 15 July 2019.

The matter had been adjourned for sentencing on a date yet to be set in the County Court of Victoria.

Originally published with permission by Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)