Mar 20, 2023

Brothers summoned to court over missing millions stolen from aged care residents

Two greedy brothers who siphoned millions of dollars from Chronos Care aged care residents and their families are set to reappear in court as liquidators chase more than $24 million of missing money.

Chris and Gerry Apostolatos founded the Victorian aged care company, Chronos Care, in 2014 despite both brothers holding a combined debt of $5 million and facing animal cruelty charges.

They ultimately pleaded guilty to cruelty charges as they were found responsible for the deaths of more than 86,000 chickens at six commercial farms.

Despite that, they continued to pull the strings behind Chronos Care, establishing homes at Alphington and Mount Eliza. 

They worked hard to hide their involvement with the company – operating under aliases when communicating with staff, bankers and lawyers, all while taking millions as profit to pay for mortgages, holidays and luxury cars.

But their aged care empire came crumbling down as Chronos Care was placed into voluntary administration in July 2021 with debts of almost $30 million, which included more than $24 million in refundable accommodation deposits (RADs) – money that remains missing.

The Federal Government was forced to step in to repay those debts and it’s currently the largest creditor for Chronos Care.

The liquidator, PCI Partners, is hunting down the Apostolatos brothers to ensure they are brought back into court to establish the “extent to which refundable accommodation deposits may have been misappropriated or misapplied”, according to The Age.

If the Apostolatos brothers adhere to the summons, they’re expected to appear in court this May alongside Gerry’s stepdaughter, Rita Kohu.

Ms Kohu was involved in the grand scheme, operating as the managing director for a company called Mali Nominees – a Government approved aged care provider.

But all three individuals used Mali Nominees and family trust accounts to funnel money from Chronos Care residents, and Ms Kohu has been singled out due to a number of irregular payments, loans and share sales that saw over $4 million transferred to either her private bank account or the Rita Kohu Family Trust.

Some money is expected to be recouped as the former Mount Eliza site, which only closed in February as the final residents relocated, hits the market with Vacant Possession.

The 60-bed home sits on 8,400 square metres and is expected to fetch around $9 million.

“There size and scope of the existing improvements is substantial,” CBRE Negotiator, Marcello Caspani-Muto, said.

“There is a generous volume of communal space while rooms are oversized by aged care standards and all bathrooms are only recently renovated.

“As such we expect there to be strong interest from both Aged Care owner occupiers and investors who will then look to re-lease the property.”

The Alphington site sold for nearly $15 million in September, and alongside neighbouring properties, is expected to be demolished. 

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