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ASIC, Financial Planning

SMSF adviser pleads guilty to $4.88 million theft

A former Adelaide-based financial adviser has pleaded guilty to the theft of $4.88 million in a case brought by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Following a hearing in the Adelaide Magistrates Court on 1 February, James Gibbs, who was an adviser and director of James Gibbs Investments (JGI), pleaded guilty to 28 dishonesty offences that occurred between 20 August 2009 and 30 July 2016.

At that time, Gibbs and JGI, which operated in Franklin St, Adelaide, were authorised representatives of Madison Financial Group, which lodged a breach report with ASIC.

The corporate regulator alleged that between 20 August 2009 and 30 July 2016, Gibbs stole around $4.88 million of funds being managed on behalf of clients, a number of which were SMSF trustees that allowed Gibbs access to the super fund bank accounts.

Additionally, ASIC alleged between 25 June 2012 and 30 July 2016, he created and used false documents, including banking documents and member statements.

Following the hearing, Gibbs was placed on bail and remanded to appear in the committal court on 27 February.

According to ASIC, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment for each offence committed prior to May 2012 or 15 years’ imprisonment for each offence committed after that time.

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is prosecuting the matter.

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