BETRAYAL: Financial planner robbed clients of cash
A trusted Townsville financial planner spent years swindling vulnerable clients, stealing more than $1 million from their retirement savings to fund a boat, car and private school fees.
Anthony Vivian Dick, 55, lied to customers, forged their signatures, disguised bank transfers and used blank signed documents to access superannuation, pension and savings accounts.
Crown prosecutor Chris Moore said Dick spent more than 11 years dipping into client's accounts for personal gain while working as a financial adviser for companies across Townsville.
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In total he stole $1,106,463, some of which he transferred into accounts owned by his ex-wife and school-aged daughter without them knowing.
It was not alleged the pair had anything to do with the fraud.
At one point, Mr Moore said Dick started a self-managed superannuation account for an illiterate and intellectually impaired man and stole about $90,000 from the account.
"That represents, perhaps, the most egregious breach of trust," Mr Moore said.
Mr Moore said Dick also used money he stole to pay off others he stole from.
"He targeted his least sophisticated and financially savvy clients who had total trust in him," he said.
Mr Moore said Dick became stressed and stopped offending as the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry was looming. Defence barrister Michael Hibble said his client confessed his crimes and co-operated with investigations.
He submitted this should be considered in sentencing.
Dick was convicted on his own plea of guilty in the Townsville Supreme Court to 11 counts of fraud including seven dishonest applications of property valued at $30,000 or more.
Judge Julie Dick, of no relation, sentenced him to eight years jail.
She said his offending was "sophisticated" and fuelled partly by greed. In sentencing she said she took into account deterrence and his limited criminal history.
"These sorts of offences take away public trust in how we conduct our financial affairs," she said. "That strikes at society."
One of Dick's victims, Troy Newman, said he trusted Dick when he promised to help set up and grow his superannuation. In 2017 he confronted him after realising something was wrong. Shortly after this, Dick confessed and the tangled web of his deceit was unravelled.
Mr Newman and his wife almost lost their entire nest egg. He said he was not sure exactly how much they lost but knew they would have to delay retirement.
"We put all of our trust in him," Mr Newman said outside of court.
"We feel betrayed … we still cannot believe that someone in his position would steal our money over many years."
The Newmans and some of his other victims are still out of pocket.
Originally published as BETRAYAL: Financial planner robbed clients of cash