Ex-adviser jailed for six years

SMSF fraud

A former Sunshine Coast financial adviser has been sentenced to six years’ jail for fraud after withdrawing funds from his SMSF clients’ accounts for personal use.

A former Sunshine Coast financial adviser has been sentenced to six years’ jail after an investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) revealed he used funds from his clients’ SMSF accounts for personal use and business expenses.

Appearing before Maroochydore District Court, Brett Andrew Gordon, former financial adviser and director of Refocus Financial Group and Diverse Capital Management, pleaded guilty to nine counts of fraud totalling $652,500.

During Gordon’s time as a financial adviser between 28 June 2014 and 26 August 2017, ASIC found he withdrew funds without consent from six of his clients’ SMSF accounts and used the funds for personal expenses, debts and Refocus Financial Group’s business expenses.

In addition, it was established he also illegally used SMSF monies invested in Diverse Capital Management for property development purposes, again for his own benefit and to meet the costs of the Refocus business.

In handing down his sentence, Judge Barlow described Gordon’s conduct as “deliberate, fraudulent and unforgivable given his position of trust” and noted he had not made any attempt to repay his victims.

The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Prosecutions subsequent to a referral from ASIC.

The regulator commenced proceedings against Gordon in the Supreme Court of Queensland in July 2018 after alleging he ran a scheme encouraging people to establish an SMSF and then advance unsecured loans from the new fund to Diverse Capital Management.

As a result, it was alleged 10 clients loaned $1.4 million to Diverse Capital Management that remained outstanding at the time.

The original ASIC investigation alleged Gordon continued to provide financial services despite not being licensed to do so.

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