A former financial adviser, who was permanently banned by ASIC earlier this year, has been sentenced to seven years imprisonment on fraud charges.
According to the corporate regulator, Darren John Wise has been sentenced in the Maroochydore District Court to seven years' imprisonment on charges brought by ASIC.
Mr Wise pleaded guilty to forgery, using forged documents and fraud. He will be eligible for parole after serving 20 months, ASIC said.
The charges relate to Mr Wise’s conduct between 23 October 1997 and 10 March 2006, when he was a financial adviser at Kawana Waters in Queensland.
ASIC said Mr Wise had created six applications for margin loans on which he forged eight of his clients’ signatures, the effect of which was to represent that the clients had agreed to act as guarantors for the margin loans.
He also used the false margin lending applications with the intention of fraudulently inducing the lender to provide him margin loans.
Further, on 67 separate occasions, Mr Wise gained a benefit for himself by fraudulently lodging securities owned by clients as collateral for the margin loans without the clients’ authorisation, ASIC said.
Mr Wise obtained over $1 million under the margin loans as a result of his misapplication of client assets. He then used the money for his own purposes, including trading in securities on the ASX for himself, paying for losses in other trading accounts he held, and paying off personal debts.
ASIC commissioner Greg Tanzer said: “Mr Wise repeatedly engaged in dishonest conduct, putting his own interests ahead of his clients.
“This type of conduct undermines trust and confidence in the financial advice industry and will not be tolerated by ASIC or the broader community. We will act to ensure financial advisers who act dishonestly are held to account for their actions.”
In February 2016, ASIC permanently banned Mr Wise from providing financial services.
According to an ASIC statement, Mr Wise was a financial adviser for a company formerly known as Financial Planning Services (Australia) Pty Limited (FPSA).
FPSA was formerly known as The Planning Corporation Pty Limited (26 October 1992 to 2 October 1995) and Poole Financial Planning Pty Limited (2 October 1995 to 5 September 2000).
Mr Wise owned FPSA from 5 September 2000 until he sold it on 9 May 2008.
[Related: Former CEO jailed for defrauding major bank]