Police Charge 2 for $3.5m SMSF Fraud

A man and a woman have been charged with 84 offences after allegedly defrauding several clients of $3.5 million in a self-managed super fund scheme.

In February 2020, detectives from the State Crime Command’s Financial Crimes Squad established Strike Force Gulgin to investigate alleged fraudulent activities of accountants who established self-managed super funds (SMSFs) for a number of clients.

Following extensive inquiries, a 44-year-old man was arrested at a home on Henley Marine Drive, Rodd Point, about 8am yesterday (Wednesday 22 March 2023) and he was taken to Burwood Police Station.

A short time later, a 38-year-old woman was arrested at Burwood Police Station.

The man and woman were charged with 43 and 41 offences respectively, including obtain money by deception, dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception and possess false document to obtain financial advantage.

Police will allege in court that the pair, who were accountants based in Sydney, established self-managed super funds on behalf of more than 20 people before allegedly misappropriating about $3.5 million between 2007 and 2020.

It will be further alleged the funds were transferred between more than 60 bank accounts opened by the man and the woman.

The pair were refused bail to appear before Burwood Local Court today (Thursday 23 March 2023).

Financial Crimes Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Gordon Arbinja, urged people who are considering using a SMSF service to do their research beforehand.

“These organised syndicates use their skills and business practices to generate further wealth for themselves and other criminal associates. They don’t consider the consequences for those on the other side – the innocent victims investing their life savings.

“Your retirement fund is one of the biggest investments a person will make to secure their future. Having a self-managed super fund requires a huge amount of time and skill to ensure compliance and protect their investment from fraud.

“We understand the appeal of having control of your superannuation, however people need to understand the risks and costs involved. Do your proper research and seek financial guidance from a licensed financial advisor with specialist knowledge in the field,” Detective Superintendent Arbinja said.

ATO Assistant Commissioner Jade Hawkins said the agency takes any superannuation fraud very seriously.

“Fraud against SMSFs can result in a person’s retirement savings being stolen and lost forever.

“Where the ATO detects these activities, we work with other government agencies to identify and take action against offenders. This activity is criminal, and we will hold offenders to account.”

For more information about SMSFs, you can visit https://moneysmart.gov.au/how-super-works/self-managed-super-fund-smsf.

Anyone with information about fraudulent activities is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.

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