The founder and director of collapsed broking house Sonray Capital Markets has been jailed over his part in the company’s downfall.
Russell Andrew Johnson, of Toorak, admitted using client funds to pay Sonray’s ongoing costs, as well as siphoning money into his family’s bank accounts.
Johnson was sentenced in the Victorian Supreme Court on Thursday to six-and-a-half years in jail with a non-parole period of three-and-a-half years.
Sonray went into administration in 2010 with losses totalling about $47 million.
Johnson pleaded guilty to false accounting, theft, obtaining financial advantage by deception and submitting a false document to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
Together with Sonray chief executive Scott Murray, Johnson took money from client accounts between 2007 and 2010 and used it to pay the company’s operating costs.
Johnson also transferred more than $300,000 into his own bank accounts.
Justice Cameron Macauley said Johnson’s deceptions were primarily to keep the company going.
“The path you took was the dishonest one,” he said.
“But I accept that it was not motivated by personal greed.”
Sonray had a total of 4500 clients, including Johnson’s brother and sister, who lost money in the collapse.
Justice Macauley noted that Johnson’s wife had significant health issues, but said he could not use that as a mitigating factor in sentencing.
Murray, who is Johnson’s brother-in-law, was jailed in 2011 for five years, with a minimum term of two-and-a-half years for his part in the deception.