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Australian prosecutor to lay more charges against former accountant

Hofman out on Aus$50,000 bail

Tags: Hofman Case Investigation

CAIRNS, Queensland - A man at the centre of an alleged multi-million dollar unregistered investment scheme walked from the Cairns court-house after raising bail of Aus$50,000 cash. ‘Piet Cornelius Walters’, 66, in the Netherlands and Canada known as Fred Siebolt Hofman, has been charged with illegally obtaining $150,000 from an investor between May 26 and July 16 last year.

Magistrate Trevor Black granted bail on the condition ‘Walters’ could raise the cash. Walters is believed to have returned to his mansion in the vicinity of Hobart, Tasmania.

At the time, the judge said the prosecution had presented what it believed was an overwhelming and compelling case against Walters.

The court was told similar charges were expected to follow and could relate to amounts totalling more than $1 million. Commonwealth prosecutor Paul Usher opposed the application for bail because Walters he considered a flight risk.

Usher said Walters had no ties to the Cairns region or Queensland, while he added that the man earlier had fled once, when an investigation into matters in Canada was started. The court was told that Walters had entered Australia on a temporary visa in 1991 under the name of Fred Siebolt Hofman, but had assumed his current name after that visa expired.

The prosecutor said that Walters since 1991 effectively had been an unlawful citizen with no immigration status in Australia.

The fugitive from Canada who was divorced by his wife after his disappearance, since has married an Australian woman. Hofman’s daughter Janet and her husband already lived in Australia before 1991. His youngest son moved to Australia in recent years while two others remain in Canada.

Walters was taken into custody in Hobart in April and extradited to Cairns, on the eastern coast of Australia, where he first appeared in court on April 19. Walters’ next appearance at the Cairns Court has been scheduled for next month.