Crane truck hire director jailed for $237k fraud
Businessman Fred Mohammed is behind bars after an Ipswich jury found him guilty of committing frauds in excess of $237,000 while he was a director of Crane Trucks R Us.
Farmouz Farhaad Mohammed, 44, from Brookwater and known in the business world as Fred Mohammed, was found guilty on Friday following his trial this week before Ipswich District Court.
Mohammed had defended three Crown prosecution charges that he dishonestly caused a $237,000 detriment to Crane Trucks R Us Pty as a director at Mount Ommaney on August 27, 2015; and two charges that he dishonestly caused detriment to the company as a director on August 29, 2015.
Mohammed gave evidence on the witness stand arguing his innocence and was the subject of rigorous cross-examination by Crown prosecutor Jeffrey Hunter QC.
The jury panel retired late Thursday afternoon to consider its verdict. By lunch on Friday they returned the guilty verdict on all three charges.
Judge Dennis Lynch QC sentenced Mohammed to a 2 ½ year jail order on the most serious charge. He received concurrent jail terms of 12-months on each of the other two charges.
Mohammed was ordered to serve six months of actual time behind bars, with the remainder of the sentence suspended for a period of three years.
The jury earlier heard the frauds were committed when the company went into liquidation with significant debts, and reportedly owing the tax office $1.1 million and employee entitlements of between $300,000 and $400,000.
Fred Mohammed is a former business award winner and was the director and sole shareholder of Crane Trucks R Us Pty at Richlands before it failed in 2015. He also ran Tranzhire R Us.
While giving evidence, he repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and said his intention was to achieve a company restructure.
He said he was following legal advice, and that money had gone into a new company called CTRU, which originated three days after receivers moved in. Mohammed maintained he had no personal access to its accounts.
Mr Hunter argued that the movement of money out of Crane Trucks R Us company accounts very soon after creditors paid in what they owed, was done to hide the assets for his family when the money should have been used for company debts.
He said Mohammed was trying to rid himself of debt, salvage what he could and keep going.
In one instance money was moved to a solicitor’s trust account, then into the CTRU account, before $160,000 found its way into a bank account of his sister, who was not accused of any wrongdoing.
Mr Hunter in his summing up of the case said Mohammed was not able to give a plausible account of what happened to the money, and he acted to protect his interests and rid himself of his debt burden, “in circumstances where he knew people were owed money by the company”.
Mohammed won an Australian Transport and Logistics Young Achiever of the Year award in 2014 and in 2015 received the northern region Entrepreneur of the Year award.
The liquidation began after John Shephard Trailers made applications in June 2015 regarding money allegedly owed for equipment supply.