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Harris Scarfe 3yrs for $46m of shareholders funds

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    02/229 Former Harris Scarfe officer jailed

    Wednesday 26 June 2002

    Mr David Knott, Chairman of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) today announced that Mr Alan Hodgson, the former Chief Financial Officer of Harris Scarfe Holdings Limited, appeared in the Adelaide District Court and was sentenced to six years imprisonment with a non parole period of three years.

    In April 2002, Mr Hodgson, of Beaumont, Adelaide, pleaded guilty to a total of 32 charges, including 18 counts of failing to act honestly as an officer of Harris Scarfe Limited, 6 counts of acting dishonestly as an employee of Harris Scarfe Limited, and 8 counts relating to the dissemination of false information to the Australian Stock Exchange.

    'This is an important outcome in ASIC's ongoing investigation, which reinforces the expectation that directors and company officers will observe proper standards of conduct and will fully disclose the true financial position of their company for the benefit of every investor in the market', said Mr Knott.

    ASIC alleged that Mr Hodgson procured the making of false entries in the books of account of Harris Scarfe Limited, which had the effect of increasing the level of profits in the consolidated accounts of Harris Scarfe Holdings Limited.

    The alleged conduct occurred during the period from August 1996 to January 2001 and affected profit figures shown in monthly financial reports to the Board, and the half-year and end-of-year financial reports to the Board and to the Australian Stock Exchange.

    The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

    As ASIC's investigation into Harris Scarfe is continuing, it is not proposed to comment further at this time.

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