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Hillsong-linked developer jailed

By Madeleine Collins
 — 1 minute read
Churchgoers defrauded by a man they trusted.
A failed property developer has been jailed for more than four years for fleecing money from fellow members of Hillsong Church to fund an illegal investment scheme.

Robert John Orehek, 45, of Castle Hill, was jailed for four years and four months with a non-parole period of 18 months after pleading guilty in the Sydney District Court to fraud.

On April 23, 2007 Orehek pleaded guilty to two charges of fraudulently misappropriating $170,000.

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Another count of fraudulent misappropriation of $20,000 was placed on a schedule to the two other charges.

On March 30, Orehek also pleaded guilty to one charge of illegally issuing securities between May 2002 and November 2002.

An ASIC investigation found that Orehek issued debenture notes without product disclosure statements to 27 investors who he met at the high-profile Hillsong Church in Sydney's north-west.

Altogether he raised over $20 million by issuing deeds of loan to over 200 investors.

At the time he was the sole director and shareholder of Norton Investments Pty Ltd, a group of private companies that raised mezzanine finance for property developments in exclusive Sydney suburbs including Mosman, Northbridge, Fairlight and Rose Bay.

Nearly all investors lost their money to a total of $2.619 million.

Only one of the proposed developments was ever completed and companies are now in liquidation.

"[The] outcome sends a very clear message that those who deal in securities illegally, and misuse funds entrusted to them by others, face serious consequences," ASIC executive director of enforcement Jan Redfern said.

Hillsong-linked developer jailed
Churchgoers defrauded by a man they trusted.
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