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Sydney adviser pleads guilty to misappropriating $2.9m

  • November 18 2020
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Sydney adviser pleads guilty to misappropriating $2.9m

By Cameron Micallef
November 18 2020

A Sydney financial adviser has pleaded guilty to misappropriating $2.9 million in his clients’ funds.

Sydney adviser pleads guilty to misappropriating $2.9m

Sydney adviser pleads guilty to misappropriating $2.9m

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  • November 18 2020
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A Sydney financial adviser has pleaded guilty to misappropriating $2.9 million in his clients’ funds.

Sydney adviser pleads guilty to misappropriating $2.9m

On 17 November 2020, Ross Hopkins from Northern Sydney suburb Seaforth appeared at the Downing Centre Local Court, where he pleaded guilty to 15 offences and was committed to the Sydney District Court for sentence.

ASIC’s case against Mr Hopkins alleged that between 14 October 2016 and 8 October 2019, as the sole director of advice firm QWL, he made 167 unauthorised transactions for 13 clients amounting to $2.938 million.

The regulator alleged the misappropriated funds were transferred into Mr Hopkins’ own personal accounts, or accounts otherwise controlled by him, and used for his own benefits.

ASIC also alleged that he made false representations about the nature of the unauthorised transfers to conceal his dishonest conduct and avoid detection.

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QWL, which has held its AFSL since 2004, provided financial advice including dealing in securities and advising on self-managed superannuation funds.

ASIC commenced an investigation into Mr Hopkins and the company in 2019, in response to allegations that QWL had failed to assist AFCA in resolving client complaints.

On 4 November 2019, ASIC obtained orders and undertakings restraining Mr Hopkins and QWL from dissipating assets or providing financial services to clients.

On 18 November 2019, the regulator obtained an extension of those orders until 25 May 2020, with a further extension obtained until 23 November.

Following ASIC’s investigation, Mr Hopkins was charged with dishonesty offences and then entered into an early guilty plea. Mr Hopkins has been granted conditional bail.

The matter has been adjourned to the Sydney District Court for mention on 18 December. 

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is prosecuting the matter following a referral by ASIC.

Sydney adviser pleads guilty to misappropriating $2.9m
Sydney adviser pleads guilty to misappropriating $2.9m
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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