A $3.27 million investment with property fund manager Securcorp, was induced by  assurances of a “safe and secure” venture that included personal guarantees from asset rich individuals.

That was the claim of Fu-Mei Hutchins, who  in July 2007, tipped in her first $2 million to be part of a loan by the company’s Secure Mortgage Income Scheme (SMIS),for property developments on first mortgage security.

The projects referred to in the judgment were “Altitude Tower”, to which she alleged the first investment related and the company’s “Albert St Investment property fund into which $1.27 million was paid in April 2008.

She was, she claims, persuaded to make both investments as a result of the representations of Securcorp director, Michael Robinson.

On maturity in January 2009, what the court described as the Altitude Tower investment was rolled over, purportedly with Fu-Mei’s consent and the company issued paper to raise additional funds to complete the project with priority being given to the new investors.

She agreed from mid-2009 to extend the time for repayment, on a month-to-month basis, induced by alleged representations that she would be paid at least one half of the original investment if she agreed.

In January 2010 Robinson told her that the Albert St investment was lost, followed by the same news for Altitude Tower in April 2011.

Fu-Mei commenced proceedings in 2011 against Securcorp and Robinson alleging misleading and deceptive conduct under s 52 of the Trade Practices Act and s 12DA of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission Act but, although referred to in the judgment, the pleading made no mention of the similar provisions of s1041E of the Corporations Act .

Her unsuccessful application in December was to join further directors as defendants which failed due to her imperfect and unparticularised Statement of Claim.

She also proposed allegations – not pleaded and in any event considered by the court to be too vague to be permissible – of breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract and negligence.

All allegations are disputed by Robinson and Securcorp and unless disposed of sooner, the argument will proceed to a trial in due course.

Hutchins v Robinson & Ors [2012] QSC 411 Brisbane Philip McMurdo J 17/12/2012

 


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