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22-101MR David Murphy charged with dishonest conduct
On 26 April 2022, Debt Wipeout business operator David Gregory Murphy (also self-identified as Dr David Murphy or Professor David Murphy) appeared at Downing Centre Local Court in NSW, charged with engaging in dishonest conduct while carrying on a financial services business and making false or misleading statements.
It is alleged that between September 2019 and November 2020, Mr Murphy, by advertising the Debt Wipeout business on billboards, websites and in person, represented to consumers he could discharge existing debts in return for an up-front ‘swap’ payment of a percentage of the outstanding debt. It is further alleged that consumers then paid the ‘swap’ payment to Mr Murphy, but Mr Murphy could not, and did not, discharge the consumers’ debts.
It is also alleged that between August 2019 and August 2020, Mr Murphy published statements in Shopa Docket advertisements suggesting that Debt Wipeout, a business operated by Mr Murphy, could wipe out debts for only 15% or 25% of the outstanding balance, when he knew, or ought to have known, that such a statement was false or misleading.
ASIC previously obtained Federal Court orders against Mr Murphy and other parties, including orders which prohibit Mr Murphy from carrying on, advertising or promoting a business in which consumers with debts pay for Mr Murphy or certain other parties to discharge the consumer’s debts with a non-cash payment (20-243MR).
ASIC urges those who may have engaged Mr Murphy’s services believing he would discharge their debts to seek independent legal advice.
The matter is next listed for mention on 3 May 2022 in the Downing Centre Local Court, Sydney.
This matter is being prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions after an investigation and referral by ASIC.
On 27 April 2021, ASIC also obtained additional orders by consent in the Federal Court restraining certain other parties from from carrying on, promoting or providing referrals to any business associated with Mr Murphy or another party, where consumers pay for their debts to be discharged with a non-cash payment (21-089MR).
The maximum penalty for an individual person found guilty of engaging in dishonest conduct while carrying on a financial services business is up to 15 years imprisonment, a fine of $999,000 or three times the total value of the benefit received (whichever is higher), or both.
The maximum penalty for an invidivual person found guilty of making false and misleading statements is up to 15 years imprisonment, a fine of $999,000 or three times the total value of the benefit received (whichever is higher), or both.
On 3 May 2022, the matter was adjourned until 31 May 2022. The Court set bail conditions for Mr Murphy, including that he not engage in, or promote, in any way, a business that purports to pay, discharge, extinguish or wipe out a loan or debt.
Editor's note 2:
On 31 May 2022, the matter was committed to the NSW District Court for mention on 1 July 2022.
Editor’s Note 3:
Following a case management hearing in the District Court on 1 July 2022, the Court listed the matter for a further case management hearing on 15 July 2022.
Editor's note 4:
Following a case management hearing in the District Court on 15 July 2022, the Court listed the matter for a further case management hearing on 12 August 2022.
Editor's note 5:
Following a mention in the District Court on 12 August 2022, the Court listed the matter for further mention on 18 August 2022.