TWO former Bendigo men convicted of losing more than $4 million of investor's money in a failed investment scheme were jailed yesterday.
In the Melbourne County Court, Judge Peter Gerbhardt sentenced Terrance John Hunter, 57, of Perth, and Graeme Jeoffrey Milner, 47, of Mildura, to six months imprisonment for their part in ``peddling bogus schemes aimed at enriching the faithful''.
The criminal actions of Hunter and Milner also contributed to the downfall a Bendigo Christian school to which they had close ties.
Hunter, Pastor of the Bendigo City Church, and his financial offsider, Milner, were involved in attracting investors to Acts Net Limited, a bank debentures trading scheme later found to be non-existent.
Hunter was also the founder and Pastor of Ascension College in Junortoun, while Milner was bursar at the school.
Ascension College was wound up in early 2001.
Many of the Acts Net investors were members of the Ascension college and Bendigo City Church communities.
Hunter and Milner yesterday received identical sentences from Judge Gebhardt after pleading guilty to multiple charges.
Each was sentenced to two years jail, with six months to serve before release on a two-year, $1000 Recognizance Release Order.
An Australian Securities and Investment Commission investigation in 2000 showed Acts Net had lost millions in an off-shore money trail stretching through Europe, the Carribean and the Pacific Islands.
Investigators said Hunter and Milner, acting as Acts Net directors, invested in an overseas scheme they believed to be real, but which simply did not exist.
In sentencing, Judge Gebhardt said Hunter and Milner had known each other for about 20 years as a result of a mutual involvement in the Apostolic Church and, after a schism, the Bendigo City Church.
Hunter formed the Bendigo City Church as a breakaway establishment from the Apostolic Church in 1994.
Ascension College, previously associated with the Apostolic Church, became the church school of the Bendigo City Church after the schism.
Judge Gebhardt linked Acts Net Limited with the school.