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    A former financial advisor has been sentenced to jail for dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception after unlawfully giving clients early access to their superannuation funds.

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      dishonestly obtain advantage by deception ASIC

      Financial Advisor Jailed for Dishonestly Obtaining Financial Advantage by Deception

      A former financial advisor has been sentenced to jail for dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception after unlawfully giving clients early access to their superannuation funds.

      Ahmed Saad used his position as the sole director of a wealth management company to charge fees to clients, claiming he provided financial services to them.

      However, Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) uncovered that he had in fact not provided any such services.

      Jail for Dishonestly Obtaining Financial Advantage by Deception

      Ahmed Saad was sentenced on November 23, 2021, to nine months’ imprisonment for one count of dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception and one month’s imprisonment for one count of attempting to obtain financial advantage by deception. 

      He was also sentenced to an 18-month community correction order, including 100 hours of unpaid community work.

      Mr Saad was the sole director of Saad Wealth Management Pty Ltd (Saad Wealth Management).

      ASIC discovered that over a five year period – between 10 April 2012 and 16 October 2017 – Saad and the company were authorised representatives of Apogee Financial Planning Limited (Apogee).

      The prosecution case was that from October 2016, Saad operated a scheme in which he unlawfully gave clients early access to their superannuation funds. The scheme involved him submitting applications for one-off advice fees to NULIS Nominees (Australia) Limited (NULIS) as trustee for the MLC Super Fund.

      In those applications, Mr Saad claimed that he had provided financial services to his clients when he had not. He would then pay these funds back to clients, facilitating unlawful early release of superannuation.

      Between 11 November 2016 and 13 October 2017, Saad allegedly obtained $1,531,925 from NULIS on behalf of 168 clients. He also attempted to obtain a further $92,400 on behalf of 10 clients between 11 August 2017 and 11 October 2017.

      It was submitted that Mr Saad indirectly benefited from the scheme by growing his client base.

      Further ASIC Fraud Cases

      ASIC Deputy Chair, Sarah Court said, “The sentence imposed demonstrates the seriousness of this misconduct. Facilitating the unlawful early release of superannuation can lead to the erosion of people’s super balances, which has the potential to lead to long-term hardship. ASIC will continue to take action to protect the superannuation assets of consumers.”

      There are further similar ASIC fraud cases which are yet to be finalised. Former AMP financial adviser David Michael Fong and his Perth-based company Fong Financial Planners Pty Ltd (Fong Financial Planners) are also being investigated for allegedly engaging in dishonest conduct.

      Mr Fong was an authorised representative of AMP in 2014. ASIC claims that he and his company acted dishonestly by completing and submitting false information in clients’ insurance applications, failing to disclose fees to clients adequately, acting without client instructions, and failing to adequately disclose the effect of advice.

      The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is prosecuting the matter, listed for further mention on 14 January 2022.  

      Sydney Fraud Lawyers

      Fraud in New South Wales falls under the charge of ‘Obtaining financial advantage or property by deception’ pursuant to Section 192E of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). If you acted dishonestly to cause a financial advantage or disadvantage, the you can be found guilty of fraud.

      Experienced Sydney Fraud Lawyers can fight fraud chargesin two ways. Firstly, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt:

      1. You received property or a financial advantage, OR

      2. You caused a financial loss, AND

      3. The gain or loss was caused by your actions, AND

      4. Those actions were dishonest

      Dishonesty is to be assessed according to standards of ordinary people and requires you to know your actions to be dishonest according to those standards.

      Secondly, the following defences to fraud charges can be used:

      1. Causation: Your dishonest actions must be the main cause of the gain or loss. If this cannot be proved beyond reasonable doubt, you will be found ‘not guilty’
      2. Claim of right: You were entitled to the property or financial advantage
      3. Duress: You were forced to commit the fraud;
      4. Necessity: Your actins were necessary in the circumstances.
      5. Mental illness defence: Some conditions (most commonly Bipolar Disorder) may give you delusions of grandiosity and cause you to commit fraud. At the time of the offending, if you do not appreciate the moral wrongfulness of your actions, you may be able to defend the charge.

      If you have been accused fraud, it is important to obtain advice from a specialist fraud lawyer who has a successfully defended hundreds of persons charged with serious and complex fraud. Call Astor Legal on (02) 7804 2823. Or, you can email info@astorlegal.com.au.

      We have offices throughout the Sydney metropolitan area where you can speak to Sydney, Liverpool and Parramatta Criminal Lawyers. We can arrange a conference for you with a Law Society Accredited Specialist in fraud offences.

      The maximum penalty for ‘obtaining financial advantage or property by deception’ is 10 years imprisonment when heard in the District Court.

      The maximum penalty in the Local Court is 2 years imprisonment for a single offence or 5 years for multiple offences. 

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