A Melbourne man who claimed to be a financial planner faced the Magistrates’ Court this week, charged over his involvement in a fraud scheme said to be worth $100 million over 10 years.
Fairfax reports Bill Jordanou faces 142 charges relating to 40 incidents between 2004 and 2013, including more than 100 charges of “obtaining a financial advantage”, often in the form of home loans and electronic transfers into home loan accounts.
Jordanou is also facing charges related to obtaining property by deception, conspiring to defraud the Commonwealth Bank, ANZ Bank, Bankwest, Bank of Melbourne and Bank of Queensland, conspiring to pervert the course of justice, and the theft of a Mercedes-Benz.
Prosecutor Luke Excell told Fairfax Jordanou is “alleged to have drawn funds using false client approvals and invoices … then used it across various property developments as well as maintaining a lifestyle.”
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Excell said Victoria Police became aware of Jordanou’s activities, and those of his associates, when the Commonwealth Bank discovered a number of loan applications lodged on behalf of Jordanou’s clients were supported by false documents, including ATO documents, letters of employment and financial statements.
The bank lodged complaints against accounting firm Zaia Arthur & Associates, where Jordanou was working as a “financial adviser” at the time.
SmartCompany attempted to contact Zaia Arthur & Associates this morning but the phone number listed for the firm has been disconnected.
Jordanou’s lawyer, George Defteros, told Fairfax his client has “been waiting for these charges for two-and-a-half years … and we welcome these charges because Mr Jordanou wants to get on with his life”.
Mark Rantall, chief executive of the Financial Planning Association of Australia told SmartCompany there are a number of rules individual investors and small business owners should follow to safeguard themselves against unsound financial advice.
Rantall says the “golden rule” is to always check the qualifications of the person giving the advice and to make sure they are a member of the FPA, which is the national professional association for financial planners.
“The second golden rule is that if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is,” says Rantall. “If you are being offered a get-rich-quick scheme, the risk associated with that scheme will be extraordinarily high.”
“The third rule is that your financial planner should spend more time talking about you and your investments, than themselves and the products they may be offering,” says Rantall.
Rantall says it is also important to make sure your financial plan matches your own personal risk profile, and that your investments are diversified across different products and different asset categories.
“The final thing would be to make sure you keep you to date with your portfolio and that you always feel comfortable with the investments being recommended,” says Rantall.
A spokesperson for the FPA told SmartCompany individuals and business owners who are concerned about receiving sound financial advice can use the “Find a Financial Planner” function of the FPA’s website to find an expert, as FPA members are held to higher professional standards.