Sisters questioned over crane truck hire demise
TWO sisters have given evidence in the trial of their brother, the former company director of Crane Trucks R Us who is defending charges of committing a $237,000 fraud when the company went into liquidation.
Farmouz Farhaad Mohammed, 44, from Brookwater and known as Fred Mohammed, is defending Crown prosecution charges alleging he dishonestly caused a $237,000 detriment to Crane Trucks R Us Pty when a director at Mount Ommaney on August 27, 2015; and two charges that he dishonestly caused detriment to the company when a director on August 29, 2015.
Fred Mohammed, a former business award winner, was the sole shareholder with all 100 shares and director of transport company Crane Trucks R Us Pty which was based in Richlands before it failed.
Liquidators Pearce and Heers became involved and Mohammed later declared bankruptcy.
In evidence this week it was revealed that the company owed $1.1 million in tax, and between $300,000 and $400,000 in employee entitlements that was later paid by the government.
Fred Mohammed, in his evidence, denied any wrongdoing and said his intentions were to achieve a company restructure. He maintained his actions were carried out after receiving legal advice.
He said some money was used to buy fuel for company vehicles and pay wages, and that this would be in a cash ledger "my accountant has".
Mohammed agreed with Crown prosecutor Jeffrey Hunter QC that he would have owed his 45 to 50 employees about $350,000.
"They did (get entitlements). Through the government," Mohammed said.
He agreed that he would have owed some creditors around $700,000 at the time.
During cross-examination Mohammed also agreed Thiess Holland paid $215,468 into an account and that he went to a bank in Mount Ommaney the same day and transferred it into a trust account by way of International Money Order.
"Yes we followed instructions (legal advice) so we can salvage the company," he said.
"It wasn't used to salvage Crane Trucks, was it. It got used by you and your family?" Mr Hunter asked.
"It got used by the (new) company CTRU," Mohammed said.
"What happened to $160,000 that went into your sister's account?" Mr Hunter asked.
Mohammed said he did not know.
"Did you ever ask her?" Mr Hunter asked.
"No," Mohammed responded.
He attributed his financial pressure to a deal with concrete maker Halcim that did not proceed.
Former Augustine Heights resident Shafeena Mohammed, who now lives near Campbelltown, NSW, said she worked in administration for Crane Trucks R Us.
She told the court she had been with her sister Fareena and older brother Fred in August 2015 when they met with a man named Bill Stinchcombe on the Gold Coast to get legal advice.
"We went to discuss restructuring of the company. Fred explained to Bill the background of Crane Trucks R Us and Bill gave us advice to open up a new company," she said.
"And to take some funds out and put it into a Worcester & Co trust account."
During cross-examination by Mr Hunter, Shafeena Mohammed agreed that for a couple of days she was listed as being a director in the new company CTRU in September 2015.
She said she held a St George bank account (that had a balance of 31 cents) at the time someone transferred $160,000 into it from the trust account.
She said that "Bill told me to hold onto the money while he was in discussion with liquidators".
When Mr Hunter suggested to her it was done "to keep the funds hidden", defence barrister Michael Copley objected.
The question was permitted by Judge Dennis Lynch QC.
"He wanted you to put the funds into a trust account?" asked Mr Hunter.
"That's correct," she said.
"What happened to the $160,000?" Mr Hunter asked.
"We paid to the lease company, Opti Lease Yes, eventually it went back to CTRU," Shafeena Mohammed said.
Her sister, Fareena Mohammed, from Springfield, who also worked at her brother's business, gave evidence.
When asked about the contents of a handwritten note that was found by liquidators in the Richlands office that in part said, 'Fred demand repayment', 'protect house' and 'spend it before you go bankrupt', Fareena said she had written some details during a meeting but not those particular notes.
She said Fred was not at the meeting and it was likely written by someone she named as Wayne.
She said that she did not recall what the notes meant.
Fareena said Wayne had said he would buy $8 million of assets and restructure but this did not occur.
She said $190,000 had been put "into Bill's trust account" to pay other companies.
"I don't recall what happened after liquidation," she said.
She said a person named Bill had final say over $200,000 and that $57,000 was paid in his legal fees.
Both the Crown and defence barrister Michael Copley QC were expected to finalise their case on Thursday afternoon with the jury to begin deliberating Friday.