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17-128MR Victorian man convicted over unlicensed financial services
Mr Grant Thorsby Ross (also known as David Thorsby Ross) of South Melbourne has pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates Court to one count of operating a financial services business without a licence. Mr Ross was convicted and fined $6,000.
The offence related to a scheme promoted and operated by Mr Ross that facilitated the illegal early release of superannuation funds of his clients through the creation of Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSFs).
Three breaches of the prohibition against engaging in credit activities without a licence relating to loans arranged by Mr Ross for clients in connection with the scheme were also taken into account in sentencing.
ASIC Deputy Chairman Peter Kell said, 'Mr Ross exploited the trust he instilled in clients by promoting and operating an illegal scheme that exposed his clients to potential legal and financial risk. Consumers are urged to deal only with licensed representatives of the financial services and credit industries.'
Mr Ross was sentenced on 28 April 2017.
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions prosecuted the matter.
Mr Ross was the former sole director of both Motabank (SA) Pty Ltd and Multimedia Marketing Pty Ltd.
Between 1 July 2010 and 13 November 2012, Mr Ross placed newspaper advertisements in Victoria and South Australia offering the availability of loans dependent upon future superannuation entitlements.
A 'round robin' scheme was operated by Mr Ross whereby his clients transferred their superannuation funds into newly created SMSFs. The SMSFs lent funds to Mr Ross' company and then an amount, less a fee, was loaned by either Mr Ross' company or personally by Mr Ross back to the trustees of the SMSF in their personal capacity.
Mr Ross has never been granted an Australian Financial Services licence or an Australian Credit Licence and has never been an authorised representative of a licensee.
ASIC's investigation arose from an intelligence report lodged by the Australian Taxation Office which raised concerns about Mr Ross' conduct.
Financial consumers are able to check the accreditation of financial services and credit providers through ASIC's Professional Registers using the ASIC Connect search facility on ASIC's website. Further information about financial services and credit can be found at ASIC's MoneySmart website.