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Fugitive from Canada wins appeal in Australia

Another bump in Hofman/Walters saga

Tags: Hofman Case Investigation

CAIRNS, Australia – Based on a technicality, the Queensland Court of Criminal Appeal has allowed an appeal against the conviction of Piet Cornelius Walters, known in The Netherlands and Canada as Fred Sibold Hofman,. The Court has set aside the conviction and ordered a new trial. He currently remains in jail.

Walters/Hofman was sentenced in the Cairns District Court, on 16 September 2006, to eight years imprisonment, after being found guilty of 14 charges of dishonesty in relation to the provision of financial services to clients of Drury Management Pty Ltd.

The Dutch national, who lived most of his life in Vancouver, Canada, in spite of initial Australian and Canadian news reports, remains in custody since he is also subject to extradition proceedings relating to 26 counts of theft and 25 counts of fraud in Canada.

A delisted Certified General Accountant, Hofman allegedly operated a Ponzi scheme, taking in millions of dollars from clients and their friends, often as a ‘favour’. Many of the victims were middle aged or older and most were left destitute when Hofman disappeared without a trace in April 1991. To the month, twelve years later, Hofman as Walters was charged by regulators for similar offenses in Queensland, Australia. Subsequently, investigators traced Australian funds to Hofman’s son Raymond in Canada, unmasking Walters as Hofman as a result.

A number of Walters/Hofman Queensland victims have taken legal action against third parties for having failed to provide due diligence when Walters was given a temporary license as an investment advisor.

The absence of a juror for about an hour during the first trial was ruled to be a reason to overturn Walters’ conviction and a new trial was ordered.