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SMSF fraudster cops 10-year jail term

The former principal of Sherwin Financial Planners and chairman of Wickham Securities, Bradley Thomas Sherwin, was yesterday sentenced to a total of 10 years’ imprisonment on 25 charges concerning the misuse of SMSF assets.

Sherwin was sentenced in the Brisbane District Court on charges brought by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions following an Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) investigation arising out of the collapse of his financial planning business.

In September, Sherwin pleaded guilty to 24 counts of fraud by dishonestly causing detriment between May 2009 and December 2012 to the value of nearly $10 million to a number of clients of Sherwin Financial Planners.

He also pleaded guilty to one count of breaching his duties as a director of Wickham Securities between June and October 2010 by falsely reporting nearly $4.5 million of loans made by Wickham had been repaid.

Sherwin was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment on the fraud charges, with an eligibility date for parole fixed at 14 November 2021, and 12 months’ imprisonment for the breach of director’s duties to commence on 14 November 2020.

This means he will spend at least four years in prison before being eligible for release.

At the time of committing the offences, Sherwin was the principal of Sherwin Financial Planners and the director of a number of other companies into which his clients’ funds were invested without their knowledge and consent.

Sherwin Financial Planners had been in operation since 1986 and by the time the Sherwin group of companies collapsed in January 2013, they owed nearly $600 million to about 400 clients.

The court was told the group recommended its clients establish an SMSF into which their existing super funds would be rolled.

The clients’ super funds were then held in a bank account.

In September 2015, ASIC wrote to Sherwin clients advising of its concerns in relation to the processing of transactions in those bank accounts.

ASIC commissioner John Price said the corporate regulator would not tolerate this kind of misconduct.

“Sherwin’s actions caused great hardship to his clients and their families,” Price said.

“[Yesterday’s] outcome should serve as a warning to company directors and financial advisers who breach community standards – the consequences are severe.”

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