On 16 September 2022, former financial adviser John Wertheimer, formerly of Canning Vale, Western Australia, pleaded guilty in the Perth Magistrates Court to one charge of providing a financial service on behalf of a person who carries on a financial services business while unauthorised to do so.
Mr Wertheimer also pleaded guilty to one charge of engaging in dishonest conduct in relation to a financial service.
Mr Wertheimer was a financial adviser under his own company, John Wertheimer & Associates Pty Ltd, before appointing Picture Wealth Advisory Pty Ltd to service a group of clients to provide licenced financial advisory services.
Between 1 May 2020 and 21 May 2020, Mr Wertheimer made 48 unauthorised transactions on the Netwealth trading accounts belonging to 36 clients of Picture Wealth. Those transactions were made without the knowledge or authorisation of either the clients or Picture Wealth.
Between 29 May 2020 and 22 July 2020, Mr Wertheimer lodged five investment instruction documents with Netwealth that purported to relay instructions to deal with financial products on behalf of clients of Picture Wealth. Those instruction documents contained forged signatures and were prepared and lodged without the knowledge or authorisation of four of the clients or Picture Wealth.
At the time of offending, Mr Wertheimer was not authorised by Picture Wealth or any other Australian Financial Services Licensee to provide financial services to clients.
The matter was committed to the District Court of Western Australia for a sentence mention hearing on 11 November 2022.
The matter is being prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions after a referral from ASIC.
The maximum indictable penalty for breaching s911B of the Corporations Act is five years imprisonment.
The maximum indictable penalty for breaching s1041G of the Corporations Act is 15 years imprisonment.
On 11 November 2022, the matter was adjourned to 31 January 2023 for sentencing.