Olive farm investors only likely to recoup 5% of losses
ALMOST 1000 jilted "mum and dad investors" could form a sprawling class action suit against investment firms accused of funnelling millions of dollars into olive farms that had an incredibly high risk of failure.
Furious investors from Mackay, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Gladstone, the Sunshine Coast and south-east Queensland are being approached by law firm Slater and Gordon in an effort to recoup some losses.
Stricken investors from the Tweed Heads and Grafton in New South Wales may also join the suit.
The battle would pit the firm and these plaintiffs against Professional Investment Services - owned by Centrepoint Alliance - which allegedly encouraged investors to sink their capital into olive plantations at Inglewood in south-west Queensland.
Slater & Gordon lawyer Ben Whitwell said when plantation owner Australian Green & Gold wound up the schemes in September 2011, these 850 investors lost a combined $39 million.
Now investors are likely to recover just 5% of their losses.
This latest announcement from Slater & Gordon marks an expansion to an investigation it is already leading against a neighbouring olive plantation.
The firm will now consider whether a case against PIS and Centrepoint can be made.
"Investors were initially lured into the scheme because they were given a false sense of security," Mr Whitwell said.
"Financial advisers assured their clients their investments in these schemes would be safe and secure because, in a 'worst-case scenario' they would still own the land, trees and water rights."
Investors have now learned the risks were much higher.
Centrepoint Alliance chose not to comment on the allegations.