2005 Pie in the Sky Award winner – 1st Place

The winner is a so-called ‘interest-free loan’ that was offered to Queenslanders, with 220 people investing $2.4 million in The Carsworthy Scheme. People were told if they purchased a car through a car buyers club, and borrowed a little more from their financier and invested it offshore, the high returns would repay their car loans. In fact when the offshore investments failed to deliver promised returns, people were left to find their own repayments, often for very high loans which they would probably not have otherwise entered into.

Another case involved Wide-I Design Corporation, a company registered in Vanuatu, ETP Ventures Pty Ltd and Cyrus Strategies Pty Ltd where car or home loans were offered on a similar basis. In that case, ASIC’s investigation found the unregistered managed investment schemes promoted the investment of Australian investors funds offshore, and raised at least $2.2 million.

ASIC’s investigations found that these two separate schemes combined raised at least $4.6 million from around 400 investors, many of whom were members of church communities on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

These illegal investment schemes have since been wound up.

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