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23-015MR Former Perth adviser sentenced for making unauthorised client transactions
On 31 January 2023, former financial adviser John Wertheimer was convicted and sentenced in the Perth District Court for one count of providing a financial service on behalf of a person who carries on a financial services business while unauthorised to do so and one count of engaging in dishonest conduct in relation to a financial service.
Mr Wertheimer was sentenced to a total of 18 months’ imprisonment, to be released forthwith after entering into a recognisance release order in the amount of $5,000 to be of good behaviour for 18 months. Mr Wertheimer was also fined $5,000 for each of the two offences.
Between 1 May 2020 and 21 May 2020, Mr Wertheimer made 48 unauthorised transactions on the trading accounts of clients using the Netwealth online trading platform. Between 29 May 2020 and 22 July 2020, Mr Wertheimer also lodged five hard copy investment instruction documents with Netwealth, which contained forged signatures, purporting to relay instructions to deal with financial products on behalf of clients.
As a result of his conviction, Mr Wertheimer is also automatically disqualified from being a company director for five years.
Mr Wertheimer had previously pleaded guilty to the two charges on 16 September 2022 (22-257MR).
In sentencing Mr Wertheimer, her Honour Judge Gillan noted the persistent nature of Mr Wertheimer’s conduct and the importance of general deterrence for offences of this nature.
Mitigating factors including Mr Wertheimer’s cooperation, early guilty pleas and the fact that Mr Wertheimer did not personally benefit from the transactions were also taken into account by Judge Gillan when handing down the sentence.
The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions after a referral from ASIC.
Mr Wertheimer was convicted of breaching sections 911B and 1041G of the Corporations Act 2001, which at the time of the offending carried respective maximum indictable penalties of five years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of $126,000 and 15 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of $945,000.