Former Sydney skate shop owner faces trial over alleged fraud

A former Sydney skate park owner is facing trial over allegations he defrauded investors and employees of the skatepark chain Mels Kitchen Cafe.

Key points: Mels Kitchen cafe owners said they had to raise about $2.4 million in debt in order to operateThe Melbourne-based company has been accused of fraud over its business model and operating a “giant” skate parkThe alleged frauds included a $500,000 loan to Mels to fund the construction of a giant skate park in SydneyThe company was run by the family of a former Sydney skater, who is now a consultant in sports marketing and branding.

The trial of former Mels owner John MacLeod, also known as Mr Mac, has been set to begin at the Melbourne Magistrates Court today.

Mr MacLeod has pleaded not guilty to charges including fraud over the business model, operating a giant skater park, and breaching the NSW Fair Trading Act.

Mr McLeod is charged with 11 offences, including fraud, breach of confidence, making false or misleading representations, falsifying documents and attempting to commit fraud.

The accused also faces charges of breach of trust and breach of contract.

Prosecutors allege Mr Macledon stole more than $2 million in loan from investors in Mels in exchange for the company’s future services.

Mr Lawler said Mr MacLeod made a $50,000 investment in the company and repaid $25,000 of that to investors who had invested in the business, before turning around and using that money to pay off debts.

The charges against Mr Macleods family were made against Mr Lawler and his wife, Jane Lawler.

Ms Lawler told the court her husband was a “very successful and successful person” who had been a “regular participant in the boardroom of the company”.

“It’s a very important point that this company is not only a successful company, it’s a family company,” Ms Lawler added.

The case is set to go to trial in September.

MELS Kitchen Cafe is the company behind Sydney’s famous Skatepark, which has been called Australia’s largest skate park.

The company says it has about 30,000 customers and employs more than 50 people.

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