A man accused of conning $25 million, allegedly created fictional staff with lofty qualifications when trying to promote his business.
A man accused of conning $25 million, allegedly created fictional staff with lofty qualifications when trying to promote his business.

Fake staff, mystery tech and sports stars missing $25m

A Gold Coast man accused of conning $25 million from high-profile sports champions and others, allegedly created fictional staff with lofty qualifications when trying to promote his business to a prospective investor, a court has heard.

Ken Grace, 54, from the Isle of Capri, who ran Goldsky Asset Management Australia Pty Ltd (Goldsky) and related companies, is alleged to have talked up his mates, a bitumen road layer, a concreter and a car dealer, claiming they were all highly-skilled staff at his "hedge fund".

Details of the alleged con were revealed in a liquidators examination into Goldsky held in the Federal Court in Brisbane today when barrister Liam Copley, for liquidator Chris Baskerville, quizzed Mr Grace's mate, wholesale car dealer Andrew Rome about Mr Grace's claims, made in an email to an investor on September 12, 2018.

Mr Copley told the court that Mr Grace had referred to Mr Rome in the email as "Dr Andrew Rome" with the job title of "Data Lead" in Goldsky's "Sydney office".

Mr Rome testified that he did not hold a doctorate and Mr Grace had never told him that he was telling other people that Mr Rome was an employee.

"Do you hold a doctorate in anything?" Mr Copley asked.

"No, I did want to be a doctor at school," Mr Rome replied.

In the email Mr Grace is also alleged to have stated that his friend Michael Correra was employed by Goldsky as a "data researcher", and Kane McDonald was one of seven staff in Sydney and a "Python Developer".

But Mr Rome told the hearing that Mr Correra "does bitumen roads and he is a friend of both of ours" and Mr McDonald was a friend of Mr Grace who "does concrete slabs".

Former Goldsky staffer Jack Bow. Picture: Liam Kidston.
Former Goldsky staffer Jack Bow. Picture: Liam Kidston.

The email also claims that Goldsky employed a "trade processing engineer called Matthew Skene".

This was the same man that Mr Grace blamed for the missing money, Mr Rome told the hearing.

In other evidence Mr Rome said that he is still in touch with Mr Grace, who he believes is currently on the dole.

Mr Rome said that, after Grace's assets were frozen by investigators probing the missing cash in 2018, he kept Mr Grace in funds by giving him $20,000 a month.

Mr Rome told the hearing that he got the money to pay Mr Grace by selling Mr Grace's Mercedes C63 to a Sydney dealer for $116,000.

In earlier hearings held in February, Goldsky staff said that Mr Grace boasted spectacular 24 per cent investment returns by using a mysterious computer program that "scraped the internet" to pick winning stocks.

Ken Grace and his wife Jane Grace. Picture: Richard Gosling
Ken Grace and his wife Jane Grace. Picture: Richard Gosling

But Goldsky staffer Jack Bow told the hearing in February that "it looks like" the computer program never existed and "was just a total lie".

The examination has been adjourned to resume at a later date.

Those who invested in the fund are former swim coach Scott Volkers who put in $220,000, former AFL player and assistant coach Simon Black ($80,000), current Essendon AFL player Devon Smith ($100,000), former AFL player Clark Keating ($100,000), former Olympic swimmer Sam Riley ($50,000) and Riley's husband Tim Fydler ($100,000), as well as Olympic cyclist Robbie McEwen ($50,000) and Melbourne Storm's director of performance Lachlan Penfold ($127,559).

Surfer Joel Parkinson invested in the fund but got out before the fund went bust, the court heard.

 

Originally published as Fake staff, mystery tech and sports stars missing $25m


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