VIC Business Stolen by ex-Employees

Discussion in 'Other/General Law Forum' started by EdS, 20 September 2018.

  1. EdS

    EdS Member

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    Hi
    I was a shareholder in a business I started in 2004. There were 3 other shareholders, one was a large Australian company, the other 2 were Chinese.

    Being an importer, as we started to grow, working capital became scarce, and in 2015 the Chinese employees and one of the shareholders started a new company concurrently with the existing company. They took all the IP, the suppliers, orders and all left the original company.

    As I applied for trade finance to fund the growth, the other shareholders refused to sign onto the finance arrangement and they agreed to sign over their shares on the condition that I signed a one-on-one agreement with each. I signed all the agreements, and the Australian company handed over its shares to me. Although the Chinese had their lawyer draft the one-on-one agreement, which I signed an returned, a few days later, their lawyer emailed me that the Chinese had changed their mind.

    This was very late notice and my preparations for carrying on the business were thwarted. As a result, they started trading a week after quitting the company with the same customers, the same products and starting with our customers orders. Altogether there were 5 ex-employees who started the company.

    The original company now had no supplier, no funds, and a burden of about 30 employees. The company was forced into liquidation, and I was made bankrupt. The money I borrowed was protected by PPSRs but in no way did that realise enough from a starved business. The debtor ledger was compromised by fake credit notes to at least one major customer of sums of $200k. This was an act of an ex-employee who is a director of the new company. This case has just been to court and I won, but time has taken its toll.

    I have zero funds and my family may lose their home.
    The police are involved with the fraud case, but it is a slow process.

    There is another embezzlement issue involving 2 of those ex-employees and sums of about $900k.

    ASIC and the liquidator chased me and not the real criminals, probably because there was no money left.

    I have other stuff but it is too complicated and what I have written is the basics.

    So, is VCAT a viable route considering that my losses alone are around $2m - $4m, I really cannot fund another legal case. I have all the proof, and I would run the VCAT thing myself.
    am proposing that the breach of contract
    The other company is very successful as it hit the ground running with no costs.

    I am considering
    Estoppel based on the original breach of contract.
    Breaches of loyalty and fidelity by the ex employees (but who can sue them when the employer is no more, maybe the shareholders?)
    Theft of IP

    Oh and 4 of the 5 Chinese were sponsored by the business on 457 visas. And this new company has around 95% of the employees from the original company.

    Sorry about the complexity of the question, but there is nobody for me to talk to without money.

    Thanks
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member
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    No. Your matter is too complex and involves questions of law not able to be heard by VCAT. You'd be in the County Court, Supreme Court or Federal Court.

    Are you well within the 6 year statutory limit for civil claims?
     
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  3. EdS

    EdS Member

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    Rod,
    I have no funds for a case... just paid out $170k to win $200k in the magistrates court. It is not worth it.

    This time, if ASIC did their job, if the Police do their job, it's already won.

    Maybe I will kickoff something easy to start the VCAT process.

    Well within the statutory limit.
     
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