ASIC obtains orders against unlicensed scheme targeting SMSFs
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has obtained Federal Court orders which will effectively shut down an unlicensed investment scheme operating off the Gold Coast and aimed at self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs).
The regulator said it had obtained the orders against A One Multi Services Pty Ltd which it suspected of engaging in unlawful activity and the directors of the company Arn Hala and Heidi Walters.
ASIC said it was being alleged that Hala represented to investors that he cold help them invest their superannuation in SMSF and then loan the money in their SMSF to A One Multi on the basis of receiving annual investment returns of over 20%.
It said it would be alleged that between 1 January 2019 to 30 June 2021, more than 60 consumers deposited approximately $25 million into A One Multi’s accounts.
“ASIC alleges that Mr Hala has used more than $5.7 million of A One Multi’s money for his and Ms Walters’ personal benefit, including through acquiring real property and luxury vehicles in their names. In addition, more than $2.4 million has been transferred from A One Multi to buy crypto-assets,” the ASIC statement said.
It said that on 21 October 2021, the Court found there was a need to protect the investors, and potentially others, and made the following orders:
- an order putting A One Multi into the receivership of John Ross Lindholm and Timothy James Michael (the receivers);
- asset preservation orders against Mr Hala, Ms Walters and A One Multi;
- an order requiring Mr Hala to transfer crypto-assets in his name to the receivers;
- orders requiring the disclosure of information to ASIC against each of Mr Hala, Ms Walters and A One Multi, including in relation to the crypto-asset holding;
- travel restraint orders for Mr Hala and Ms Walters.
On 25 October 2021, the first tranche of crypto-assets held in Mr Hala’s name was transferred to the receivers.
On 1 November 2021, the Court made further orders requiring the defendants to attend an ASIC office to facilitate the transfer of remaining crypto-assets held or controlled by the defendants to the receivers.
The orders were made pending a final hearing into the conduct of Mr Hala, Ms Walters and A One Multi.
ASIC moved swiftly to obtain the orders given ease with which crypto-assets can be transferred or transacted.
ASIC said its investigation into Mr Hala, Ms Walters and A One Multi remains ongoing.