A former diesel fitter turned conman who was prosecuted for spruiking a fake magnetic engine has now been made bankrupt for the second time in his long and chequered career.
Micheal (or Michael) Peter Nugent, was forced into bankruptcy last week by the corporate regulator ASIC after failing to pay almost $300,000 in legal costs stemming from a case against him and his company Cycclone Magnetic Engines Inc in 2009.
Cycclone and Mr Nugent, who was chairman, were found to have engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct regarding the engine the court ruled ''could not work''.
Three years after The Sun-Herald reported on how Mr Nugent had been living the high-life on shareholder funds, attending pyjama parties at Hugh Hefner's Playboy mansion and travelling extensively around the world, the Gold Coast man is now banned from managing companies or holding directorships in Australia.
Angry investors who claim they had been duped over the fake engine had been pushing for more action after Mr Nugent was again found to be fund-raising on the back of audacious claims about another invention known as the Y Engine.
A creditors' petition was filed in February against Mr Nugent and last week the Federal Court in Brisbane ordered he be made bankrupt after he failed to pay the ASIC bill of $295,000 from the 2009 legal action.
Mr Nugent told Fairfax Media on Friday he had repaid the money and would be seeking to have his bankruptcy set aside. Mr Nugent said the ''aggravation between the Brisbane office of the ASIC and myself''' goes back 13 years.
ASIC has twice taken civil action against Mr Nugent, first in 2001 and then in 2009 for misleading and deceptive conduct. ASIC also took action against his business associates Steven Vincent Foster and Robert (Bob) McClelland for breaching the corporations act.
Until last week, Mr Nugent was a director of 10 companies ranging from business consultancies to motor engine companies. The Official Trustee from the Australian Financial Security Authority has been appointed trustee.
In 2011, Mr Nugent had boasted about exploits such as getting clearance from NASA to talk to its top scientists about his magnetic engine.
He also fancied himself as a film director and set up Fire from Ice Films Inc, claiming top actors - whom he had met at Hefner's mansion - wanted to appear in a film about him. Inquiries revealed that Mr Nugent was a bankrupt in South Australia in the 1980s.
His co-director in the engine scam, Mr Foster, was also a bankrupt until 2007, during the time he was selling shares in the magnetic engine venture.
It was also revealed in late 2012 that Mr McClelland had been promoting the Y Engine in the hope of raising $2million.
ASIC issued warnings to the public about Mr McClelland making false and misleading statements about the companies Roadships and Cycclone Magnetic Engines by claiming they had developed revolutionary technology.
In the latest twist, a five-page newsletter being circulated by Mr McClelland and Mr Foster in Australia claimed they are still in business, Mr Nugent has invented yet another engine and despite being ''slandered and demoralised'' the engine company is something to be proud of.
''One thing for sure, we are not giving up and we are just getting started,'' they wrote.