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Financial Planning
Adviser sentenced to eight years' prison

A financial adviser has been jailed over using clients' money to fund his lifestyle to the tune of $1.1 million, including $72,000 he spent on a boat, while licensed by AMP, NAB and Synchron.

Anthony Dick has been sentenced to eight years in prison with a non-parole period of two years and eight months.

He was reported to ASIC by Synchron, which also ceased his authorisation, in April 2018.

Between March 2006 and December 2017, Dick accessed and transferred about $1.1 million of clients' superannuation, pensions and personal savings.

Dick was licensed by AMP's Jigsaw Advice Services from 2004-2012 before joining GWM Adviser Services for two years. From there, Dick joined Synchron where he was an authorised representative from 2014 to 2018.

An ASIC investigation revealed that Dick used clients' money to fund his lifestyle, including $72,000 which was used to purchase and maintain a boat.

Synchron director Don Trapnell told Financial Standard Dick's authorisation was ceased after he sent an email to Synchron admitting to wrongdoing.

Trapnell said the admission came during the Royal Commission and that perhaps Dick felt he would no longer be able to keep up his fraud.

Synchron's compliance manager then flew to Townsville, where Dick was based, eventually escalating the issue to the police.

"The fact that he got sentenced to eight years, I think is good for the industry. It's a little disappointing that the non-parole period is only two years and eight months," Trapnell said.

He likened Dick's behaviour to bank robbery, saying: "Instead of walking into the bank with a gun he walked in with a piece of paper, with a forged signature."

Only a small portion of the misappropriated $1.1 million happened in the time Dick was at Synchron, Trapnell said.

He added that he personally knew Dick but that he had no idea of the fraudulent behaviour and felt shattered and betrayed when the information came to light.

"Mr Dick has been found to have breached the trust of his clients, who included unsophisticated investors and intellectually disabled consumers whom he deliberately targeted," ASIC deputy chair Daniel Crennan said.

"These vulnerable clients placed their trust in Mr Dick and relied heavily on him to manage their finances. His conduct involved a gross breach of this trust and resulted in significant losses for his clients over more than ten years. His sentencing should send a strong message that such conduct will lead to individuals involved being brought before the court to face criminal charges."

Read more: SynchronASICNABAnthony DickDon TrapnellGWM Adviser ServicesJigsaw Advice ServicesRoyal CommissionTownsville
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