Former financial adviser, Gabriel Nakhl, has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for engaging in dishonest conduct, after being found guilty in the District Court of New South Wales.
Mr Nakhl was convicted on eight charges (18-178MR), brought by ASIC, of engaging in dishonest conduct with investor funds. The conduct affected 12 investors while Mr Nakhl was a representative of Australian Financial Services Limited (in liquidation) and as sole director of SydFA Pty Ltd (deregistered).
The court found Mr Nakhl advised clients to set up self-managed superannuation funds and to invest their superannuation and other funds in products such as shares, managed funds and high interest rate bank accounts. Rather than investing the 12 investors’ funds in these products, Mr Nakhl used these funds 'as he pleased' and for his own purposes.
Mr Nakhl then lied to the investors, telling them that he had invested their funds in accordance with his advice and that their investments were performing well. Mr Nakhl also tried to cover up his wrongdoing by having these 12 investors sign documents that supposedly authorised Mr Nakhl to use the funds in the way he did.
These 12 investors allowed Mr Nakhl to invest approximately $6.7 million on their behalf. Mr Nakhl lost approximately $5.1 million of these invested funds.
'Mr Nakhl deliberately misled his clients and used their savings as he pleased. Clients should be able to trust their financial advisers. In this case, Mr Nakhl dishonestly and deliberately breached his clients’ trust. ASIC welcomes the sentencing decision handed down today,' said ASIC Commissioner Sean Hughes.
ASIC obtained orders against Mr Nakhl in February 2013, freezing his assets (13-023MR). In April 2013, the amounts frozen in interim orders against Mr Nakhl were approximately $7.7 million.
In September 2013, Mr Nakhl became a bankrupt and placed SydFA Pty Ltd into liquidation.
In November 2013, Mr Nakhl was permanently prevented from providing financial services. He is also not allowed to manage a company until 2028 (13-313MR).
The court set Mr Nakhl a non-parole period of 6 years.
[Podcast added 26 March 2019].
Editor's note 2:
Mr Nakhl lodged a Notice of Appeal against his sentence on 5 March 2020.
The appeal was heard on 6 July 2020 in the NSW Court of Appeal and the judgment was reserved.
Editor’s note 3:
On 14 August 2020, the Court of Criminal Appeal unanimously dismissed Mr Nakhl’s appeal against a ten-year sentence with a six-year non-parole period.