News National ‘More defects than the Titanic’

‘More defects than the Titanic’

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A Victorian accountant who lost investors $67 million in schemes with “more defects than the Titanic” has been jailed for more than five years.

Former LGH Administration Pty Ltd director Mark Ronald Letten, 60, frittered away the money of 916 investors over 11 years, from 1998 to 2009.

Victorian County Court Judge Michael McInerney said Letten’s 21 botched and unregistered investment schemes showed grossly inappropriate and inadequate accounting practices.

They were an “economic shamble or shemozzle” and “doomed to failure”, he said on Thursday.

“This whole enterprise, which was overseen by Mr Letten, had more severe structural defects than the Titanic,” Judge McInerney said.

“Like the Titanic, it sank ignominiously.”

The court heard Letten had “an obsessional commitment to his job” and had lost $17 million of his own money.

There was no evidence he used the money for himself and no one would ever really know what his motive was, Judge McInerney said.

“However, clearly, he was desperately trying to maintain his empire.”

Letten had a good reputation and many of the duped investors had worked with him in the past, he said.

Most were devastated financially by the failed schemes and lost savings meant for retirement, family assistance and education, the court heard.

Letten pleaded guilty to 27 charges of dishonesty and financial misconduct.

He was sentenced to a total of five years and eight months’ jail and will be eligible for parole after three years.