The former director of several financial planning businesses has been sentenced to a decade behind bars, after the collapse of his companies unearthed a web of fraudulent activity.
Bradley Thomas Sherwin was the principal of Sherwin Financial Planners and chairman of Wickham Securities, which collapsed in early 2017, along with five other associated companies under the Sherwin group.
Sherwin Financial Planners had been operating since 1986, but by the time it went under in January 2013, the group had amassed debts of close to $60 million to around 400 clients.
It was subsequently discovered that Mr Sherwin had engaged in multiple acts of fraud, and in May 2016, was permanently banned from providing financial services.
Mr Sherwin, now 63, pleaded guilty in the Brisbane District Court back in September this year to 24 counts of fraud by dishonestly causing a detriment, as well as one count of breaching his duties as a director by reporting loans worth almost $4.5 million had been repaid, when they hadn’t.
More than two months after his guilty pleas, Mr Sherwin was sentenced to 10 years in jail for the fraud charges and a further 12 months for the breach of director’s duty. He will be eligible for parole in November 2021.
The court was told that from 2009, the businesses ran into financial difficulties which led to their ultimate demise, but until their 2013 collapse, liabilities were paid with client funds that had been provided to establish self-managed super funds (SMSFs).
A number of clients lost their entire superannuation savings as a result.
“Today’s outcome should serve as a warning to company directors and financial advisers who breach community standards – the consequences are severe,” ASIC commissioner John Price said following the verdict.