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Thursday 4 November 2021

21-289MR ASIC obtains Federal Court orders against unlicensed investment scheme A One Multi Services

ASIC has moved to shut down unlicensed financial services business A One Multi Services Pty Ltd (A One Multi), which is suspected to be engaging in unlawful activity.

ASIC successfully obtained interim orders and injunctions from the Federal Court in Queensland against A One Multi and its Gold Coast-based directors Aryn Hala and Heidi Walters to protect investors. 

It is alleged Mr Hala represents to investors that he can help them invest their superannuation in a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) and then loan the money in their SMSF to A One Multi. ASIC alleges Mr Hala told investors that they would receive annual investment returns of over 20%.

Between 1 January 2019 to 30 June 2021, more than 60 consumers deposited approximately $25 million into A One Multi’s accounts. ASIC alleges that Mr Hala has used more than $5.7 million of A One Multi’s money for his and Ms Walters’ personal benefit, including through acquiring real property and luxury vehicles in their names. In addition, more than $2.4 million has been transferred from A One Multi to buy crypto-assets.

On 21 October 2021, the Court found there was a need to protect the investors, and potentially others, and made the following orders:

  • an order putting A One Multi into the receivership of John Ross Lindholm and Timothy James Michael (the receivers);
  • asset preservation orders against Mr Hala, Ms Walters and A One Multi;
  • an order requiring Mr Hala to transfer crypto-assets in his name to the receivers;
  • orders requiring the disclosure of information to ASIC against each of Mr Hala, Ms Walters and A One Multi, including in relation to the crypto-asset holding;
  • travel restraint orders for Mr Hala and Ms Walters.

On 25 October 2021, the first tranche of crypto-assets held in Mr Hala's name was transferred to the receivers. 

On 1 November 2021, the Court made further orders requiring the defendants to attend an ASIC office to facilitate the transfer of remaining crypto-assets held or controlled by the defendants to the receivers.

The orders were made pending a final hearing into the conduct of Mr Hala, Ms Walters and A One Multi.

ASIC moved swiftly to obtain the orders given ease with which crypto-assets can be transferred or transacted.

ASIC’s investigation into Mr Hala, Ms Walters and A One Multi remains ongoing.

Download

22 October ex parte orders and judgment

1 November orders

Background

These proceedings form part of ASIC’s work to protect consumers and take enforcement action where we suspect unlicensed financial advice. Financial advice must only be provided by qualified and licensed financial advisers or financial counsellors, not by individuals or corporations who neither hold an AFS licence, nor are authorised representatives of an AFS licensee. 

Crypto-assets are highly speculative investments. ASIC urges Australians to invest with caution. The platforms where you buy and sell crypto-assets may not be regulated by ASIC. This means you may not be protected if the platform fails or is hacked

ASIC's Report 575 SMSFs: Improving the quality of advice and member experiences (REP 575) provided a comprehensive overview of SMSF market characteristics and member experiences. The report also identified several indicators that suggested when an SMSF may not be appropriate for a client and included practical tips for advice providers to improve the quality of SMSF advice they provide to clients. Investors should only take financial advice from licensed financial advisers, including advice relating to their SMSFs.

Moneysmart.gov.au has information to help consumers with SMSFs and cryptocurrencies, and advice on how to spot superannuation scams.

Editor’s note:

A case management hearing has been listed for 10 June 2022.

Editor's note 2:

The case management hearing for 10 June 2022 was adjourned until 1 August 2022.

Last updated: 10/06/2022 02:25