Mortgage broker charged over $12 million Ponzi scheme; Consumer confidence dips but still stronger than last year: Midday Roundup

Mortgage broker charged over $12 million Ponzi scheme; Consumer confidence dips but still stronger than last year: Midday Roundup

A former mortgage broker in Adelaide has been charged with 12 counts of deception, valued at $12 million.

Michael Samra appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court on May 22 following an investigation into an alleged Ponzi scheme by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

ASIC said in a statement it will allege Samra operated a Ponzi scheme by inducing investors to loan money to his company ALC Group on the basis the funds would then be on-lent to unnamed builders and property developers on a short-term basis.

ASIC said Samra promised investors high returns of between 30-48% a year. According to ASIC, approximately $66 million came out of the company’s bank account over a seven-month period, with the majority of funds paid to investors.

However, ACL collapsed in 2009 with debts of approximately $40 million.

Samra is due to appear before the court again on July 28.


Consumer confidence dips but still stronger than last year


Two weeks after the federal budget and consumer confidence has taken a slight hit, although it is still significantly stronger than last year’s post budget outlook.

The ANZ-Roy Morgan sentiment index fell 1.0% to 113.5 points in the week ending May 24, but remains 14.3% above levels this time last year, when Treasurer Joe Hockey released his austere first federal budget.

“While consumers have reacted more positively towards the government’s 2015-16 Budget, the sustainability of this lift in confidence, and indeed, the prospects for further gains in confidence will be reliant on a number of factors,” said ANZ chief economist Warren Hogan in a statement.

“The lift in confidence is unlikely to be sustained if key measures do not pass through the parliament,” said Hogan.

More importantly, confidence amongst consumers requires job creation and a stable, or better still falling, unemployment rate.”


Shares up on open


Aussie shares have traded higher this morning, off the back of positive moves in commodity prices.

Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets, said in a statement the rallies in industrial commodities followed an announcement of further targeted stimulus measures in China.

“The announcement of one thousand new infrastructure projects in China has turned the outlook for industrial commodities,” McCarthy said.

“Copper, iron ore and oil are all higher this morning as markets factor in this most recent demonstration of commitment to stabilising China growth rates around 7%.”

“The news should see energy and materials stocks lead the market. A focus on top operators and world class assets should see BHP and Woodside in the spotlight today.”

The S&P/ASX 200 benchmark was up 40.2 points to 5761.7 points at 12.11pm AEST. On Monday, the Dow Jones closed 53.72 points lower, down 0.29% to 18232 points.


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