Vic­tim re­veals deathbed scam Funds taken as part­ners lay dy­ing

The Courier-Mail - - NEWS - LIAM WALSH

CROOKED fi­nan­cial plan­ner Brad Sher­win took funds off cus­tomers as their part­ners were dy­ing, ac­cord­ing to a dev­as­tat­ing vic­tim im­pact state­ment.

The deathbed claim was raised as Sher­win, who wiped out clients’ sav­ings in a $60 mil­lion col­lapse, was jailed yes­ter­day for 10 years for fraud.

Sher­win had al­most 400 clients through his Bris­bane-based Sher­win Fi­nan­cial Plan­ners and other com­pa­nies. They lost large chunks of their su­per­an­nu­a­tion sav­ings when his com­pa­nies went belly up in early 2013 in a $60 mil­lion col­lapse.

Aus­tralian Se­cu­ri­ties and In­vest­ments Com­mis­sion in­ves­ti­ga­tions sub­se­quently re­vealed a Ponzi scheme of in­vestor funds be­ing used for pur­poses of which the clients were un­aware. Sher­win, 63, for decades nur­tured a loyal cus­tomer base, which in­cluded friends. Vic­tim Nigel Jef­fares, who helped cre­ate a sup­port group af­ter the col­lapse, told the court of los­ing his own $370,000 and hear­ing oth­ers’ hor­ror sto­ries of de­cep­tion.

“Sher­win’s deathbed strat­egy of get­ting busi­ness when to­tally in­sol­vent has im­pacted on me,” Mr Jef­fares said. “(Vic­tims) have ex­pe­ri­enced Sher­win stand­ing at the end of the deathbed, arm around the sur­vivor to be, promis­ing the dy­ing per­son that he would look af­ter them.”

Sher­win must serve at least four years be­fore the pos­si­bil­ity of pa­role, un­der the rul­ing handed down on Tues­day from Judge Julie Dick in Bris­bane’s District Court. “You have blighted their (clients’) lives,” Jus­tice Dick said to Sher­win. For­mer clients packed the court to hear the sen­tence, fill­ing the 50 seats and stand­ing when none were avail­able. They clapped as Sher­win was es­corted to prison. The sen­tence marks a mas­sive scan­dal for the emerg­ing self­man­aged su­per­an­nu­a­tion fund sec­tor, which is used by more than 1.1 mil­lion Aus­tralians.

Sher­win pleaded guilty to com­mit­ting 24 counts of fraud be­tween 2009 and 2012 to Sher­win Fi­nan­cial clients, re­ceiv­ing a 10-year sen­tence. He also ad­mit­ted to one count of breach­ing his du­ties as chair­man of prop­erty fi­nancier Wick­ham Se­cu­ri­ties be­tween June 2010 and Oc­to­ber 2010, get­ting one year in jail to be served at the same time.

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