The saga of Ralan Group, which spectacularly collapsed owing hundreds of millions of dollars to creditors, is at an end.
The former managing director of Ralan has been sentenced to immediate imprisonment after pleading guilty to six offences of “obtaining a financial advantage by deception” in November last year.
District Court Judge Anderson said that the financial advantage William O’Dwyer had obtained by dishonest activities was “enormous” and that his conduct was an ongoing, calculated fraud.
The District Court of NSW sentenced O’Dwyer to four years imprisonment with a non-parole period of two years and four months.
Ralan collapsed in 2019 owing $561 million, of which at least $323 million owed to unsecured creditors who had bought Ralan apartments off-the-plan was never recovered.
At the time of the collapse, it had a $2-billion development pipeline of more than 3000 residential units with hundreds of off-the-plan buyers.
The latest charges find that O’Dwyer, by deception, “dishonestly obtained for companies in the Ralan Group the ability to draw down on finance facilities totalling $251 million”.
O’Dwyer had operated for years by offering purchasers the ability to release their deposit to the group in exchange for capitalised interest of 15 to 20 per cent a year.
As part of loan agreements, Ralan was required to satisfy lenders that presale deposits were held in trust, and O’Dwyer had deceived the lenders into believing this was the case.
However, the deposits had been lent back to the development company to use as working capital.
An estimated $132 million was drawn down upon the facilities, with around $47 million repaid by the time Ralan called in administrators from Grant Thornton in July 2019.
The property director was described as operating a “partial-Ponzi” scheme by the insolvency practitioners.
The Ralan Group of companies was liquidated in March 2023.