Alleged former Pilbara Ponzi queen Veronica Macpherson returns

Alleged former Pilbara Ponzi queen Veronica Macpherson returns
Alleged former Pilbara Ponzi queen Veronica Macpherson returns

The alleged former Pilbara Ponzi scheme queen, Veronica Macpherson, has returned to establish a new property business, according to the ABC.

Despite being permanently banned from providing financial services, Ms Macpherson is behind a new cooperative enterprise which aims to develop housing for Pilbara workers.

It comes just three years after the collapse of her Macro group of Pilbara property development companies, with the creditors owed more than $285 million.

Her latest venture — the Pilbara Liveable Cities Cooperative — was approved by the WA Government last year, the ABC reported.

She has registered a distributing cooperative, meaning profits are dispensed to members.

Cooperatives are regulated by state governments and not ASIC.

Ms Macpherson told the ABC that the cooperative enterprise would help her deliver her goal of providing liveable cities in the Pilbara. 

"I am supporting a number of developments who can't raise finance," she said.

"Everyone's looking to me for a solution."

An ASIC spokesman said she was not allowed to arrange any investment in a cooperative or provide financial advice on making such an investment. 

ASIC had advised Ms Macpherson of its opinion.

Ms Macpherson's bankruptcy also prevents her from being involved with managing a cooperative under WA laws.

Ms Macpherson described it as a social enterprise, involving some people who had been involved with Macro. 

"I will be a member and a service provider — marketing and corporate advisory for the businesses and developers that we support — until such time as my bankruptcy comes to an end," she said. 

She has also suggested to Macro investors that the enterprise could help them get their money back, 'with outstanding interest following in the next twelve months," her newsletter said.

The disclosure statement outlines the membership structure of her cooperative:

  • "Custodians", who provide property development, management and maintenance services, as well as health and wellbeing services for FIFO workers
  • "Pioneers", who will use these services, and "Champions", who will fund the services.
  • "Custodians" pay $100 a share and have full voting rights, "Pioneers" will pay annual investment fees of between $120 and $12,000 for no voting rights, while "Champions" can buy a Cooperative Capital Unit, a fundraising vehicle, for $1000 and limited voting rights.

The ABC went to an Australian expert on cooperatives, Professor Tim Mazzarol of UWA Business School, who said this structure was not in keeping with the spirit of a cooperative.

New off-the-plan developments for sale in Western Australia
Pilbara Veronica Macpherson

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