Hatcher Unit Trust

Gold-digging duo jailed over sunken treasure scheme

By Kay Dibben

Two men who convinced Australians to invest $600,000 in an unregistered scheme to recover sunken treasure are now behind bars.

One, Christopher Paul Woolgrove, had been convicted over another fundraising venture to locate a Spanish galleon years earlier.

He was permanently banned in 1995 from acting as an investment adviser.

Investors in the latest scheme, Hatcher Unit Trust, were promised returns of 1365 per cent if treasures from three shipwrecked vessels in Asian waters were salvaged.

Brisbane District Court last month heard 130 Australians invested a total of $US590,490 ($614,140) in Hatcher Unit Trust, and none of the money had been recovered.

"Many investors were easily lured by the prospect of substantial returns," Judge Tony Rafter said, when he jailed Woolgrove and Lawrence James Phillips.

Potential investors were told "15 per cent of all gold found by man over the past 6000 years is lying at the bottom of the ocean".