Coast businessman accused of ripping off $1.4 million
A FORMER Sunshine Coast financial adviser allegedly convinced at least 10 clients to pay unsecured loans worth $1.4 million to his now-collapsed property development company, according to documents filed in court.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) claims Refocus Financial Group operator Brett Andrew Gordon then used clients' money for his own personal use, and as working capital for Refocus.
The company still operates in Maroochydore despite Mr Gordon not having a financial services licence, according to ASIC's lawsuit filed in the Supreme Court of Queensland.
The watchdog has commenced proceedings against Refocus, Mr Gordon, his partner Heather Jean Swift and the company of which she was sole director, Consultia Super Pty Ltd.
In a document published Tuesday, ASIC state Mr Gordon and Refocus were authorised representatives of Solar Financial Advisory Pty Ltd between June 2017 and August last year.
They allege during this time Mr Gordon, 50, recommended his clients establish self-managed superannuation funds and advance unsecured loans to a related company, Diverse Capital Management Pty Ltd, to undertake property development.
ASIC claim at least 10 clients loaned $1.4 million to Diverse on Gordon's recommendation.
Those funds remain outstanding and Diverse was placed in liquidation on May 18 this year with debts of $1.5 million.
Solar terminated Mr Gordon and Refocus as authorised representatives after becoming aware of Mr Gordon's conduct, and reported it to ASIC.
Following an investigation, ASIC claim Ms Swift also received money from Diverse Capital Management for her own personal use.
On top of this, ASIC claims Mr Gordon and Refocus also entered into other unsecured loan agreements to borrow funds from self-managed super fund clients of Refocus, which have not yet been repaid.
ASIC is seeking court orders to appoint a provisional liquidator to Refocus and Consultia; prevent Mr Gordon and Ms Swift from dealing with their assets; and, restrain Mr Gordon from providing financial services.
The matter will be heard in the Supreme Court in Brisbane on 11 July 2018 and ASIC is continuing its investigation.
The Refocus website states Mr Gordon has owned and operated his own businesses, as well as having held partnerships in various financial organisation over the past 25 years.
Refocus clients who wish to make report information regarding Mr Gordon can contact Solar or the Financial Ombudsman Service on 1800 367 287.