A LISMORE man who was involved in running a dishonest investment scheme has been jailed for four years and three months.
Ronald David Williams, 46, and his Gympie business partner, Gary David Maile, 64, were sentenced last week for running a high-risk scheme through their finance company, Selection One, on the Gold Coast.
When they went into voluntary administration, the men had debts of almost $21 million owed to 88 investors after promising huge returns they could not deliver on.
Williams and Maile will be released on parole after serving 16 months.
Pottsville couple Annette and Michael Fox had invested in the men's scheme and said the sentence, after waiting more than six years, made them feel sick.
"If a man was running down the street and he took my handbag, he'd be in prison," Mrs Fox said.
The Foxes had retired and were enjoying their "beautiful" Burleigh Cove home on the Gold Coast.
But when a friend told them they could trust their life with two men running a high-return investment scheme, they thought they could set their children up.
"Michael's idea was to get into it for a short time and then get out in the hope we could make enough money to give our children deposits on their homes," Mrs Fox, 60, said.
"It was for selflessness that we became involved in it.
"We've had to sell our home. We've lost everything."
Mr Fox, 70, said the men owed them almost $750,000 which they would never see again.
He said the couple also lost their "cars, savings, a lot of super, our friends, family too".
"We were retired and we had to go back and start a business," Mrs Fox said. "It is an importing business where we have worked extremely hard."
Mr Fox said they had to work seven days a week for months establishing the business.
"It's destroyed us really - we don't know if we'll even be able to own a home again," he said.
Mrs Fox said it was impossible to put a figure on the cost to their health - admitting she now suffered from panic attacks and depression.
"I went and begged Ron for money because I've got a daughter that's going blind and I needed money for transplant surgery," she said.
"He just wasn't interested."