Clients’ money swiped in SMSF, property case

Clients’ money swiped in SMSF, property case

Jail, guilty

In a messy SMSF and property case, a woman has pleaded guilty to two charges that she dishonestly obtained client funds and to one charge of dealing with over $100,000 of client funds that were the proceeds of crime. 

Sydney woman Sarah Jane Busteed also admitted her guilt in respect of a fourth charge that she dishonestly obtained client funds. In a statement released earlier today, ASIC said this offending will be also be taken into account when she is sentenced.

The charges to which Busteed has pleaded guilty alleged that she provided services to individuals and SMSFs on property investments. At various points in 2012, ASIC said Busteed dishonestly and by deception obtained $57,000 from a law firm and $36,000 from a client's SMSF account.

ASIC also said she dealt with $163,968 obtained from that client's SMSF account which she knew to be the proceeds of crime. It is alleged that the funds were used for various purposes, including for Busteed's personal expenses.

She has already been sentenced for other offences involving dishonestly obtaining financial advantage in NSW, and is serving a custodial term.

Busteed was refused bail and a sentencing hearing has been listed for late June next year in the NSW district court.

For several years, ASIC has kept service providers related to SMSFs and property on its radar, particularly since the rise in popularity of limited recourse borrowing arrangements (LRBAs) which were made accessible to trustees in 2007.

Financial advisers like Verante Financial Planning director Liam Shorte, who is also the chair for the SMSF Association’s NSW chapter, have long been heralding the prevalence of dodgy operators in this sector.

Broadly speaking, areas of concern for the regulators and advice professionals include off-the-plan developments or advice coming from one-stop shops — for example where an accountant, adviser and property developer operate as a collective.

 

Clients’ money swiped in SMSF, property case
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