• Wed. Apr 24th, 2024

Financial planner Terence Nugara who swindled clients out of $10 million in fake investments is jailed for 10 years as judge rips into him

Financial planner Terence Nugara who swindled clients out of $10 million in fake investments is jailed for 10 years as judge rips into him

A financial planner who swindled clients out of $10million in fake investments lulled one client into a sense of security with visits to her retirement home, flowers and lunches.

Terence Nugara was jailed for a decade on Thursday over a long-running property development scam in which he deceived 28 clients into investing $10million from their savings and superannuation funds.

While putting their retirements into doubt, he lined his pockets with cash, his garage with luxury cars and bought himself a boat and helicopter.

His actions were reprehensible, callous, selfish and occurred during a period when his financial planning and advisory licence was suspended and later terminated, County Court Judge Trevor Wraight said.

He sentenced Nugara to nine years and 11 months behind bars on Thursday.

Terence Nugara (pictured) was jailed for a decade after he deceived 28 clients into investing $10million from their savings and superannuation funds into a property development scam

The financial planner was often seen living a lavish lifestyle filled with luxury cars, yachts, helicopters and $400 bottles of Dom Perignon

The financial planner was often seen living a lavish lifestyle filled with luxury cars, yachts, helicopters and $400 bottles of Dom Perignon

The court heard Nugara used his position as a financial planner to convince clients to switch their superannuation accounts to self-managed super funds and invest in property development.

Nugara represented himself as developing properties in Malvern, Kew, Sandringham and Glen Iris, as well as villas in Bali.

In some cases he promised returns up to 98.93 per cent.

Nugara had pre-existing relationships with many victims.

One woman said he had visited her at her retirement home, brought her flowers and took her out to lunch.

Another woman became a client after the death of her accountant husband, who previously managed her investments.

A man who was lured into investing had also been deceived into bringing his parents in on the scam.

‘You took advantage of people who placed their trust in you, many of whom were older and looking forward to a comfortable retirement,’ Judge Wraight said.

Nugara was caught out by various clients who visited the supposedly developed properties, only to discover the previous building was yet to be demolished.

One learned of the scam when they were advised by the financial watchdog to contact police, while another found out years after the fact through her solicitor.

The victims – including some who had to delay retirement or rely on Centrelink – have had some or all money repaid through financial institutions since a pre-sentence hearing last month.

Judge Wraight said it was argued Nugara, who moved overseas before the police investigation began, had voluntarily returned to Australia to face justice.

County Court Judge Trevor Wraight labelled his actions as reprehensible, callous and selfish

County Court Judge Trevor Wraight labelled his actions as reprehensible, callous and selfish

Nugara, who pleaded guilty to 27 charges of obtaining financial advantage by deception and two charges of theft, will be eligible for parole after serving six years and six months

Nugara, who pleaded guilty to 27 charges of obtaining financial advantage by deception and two charges of theft, will be eligible for parole after serving six years and six months

But he noted before leaving, Nugara disposed of assets including his house and clearly sought to start afresh overseas.

When international business ventures failed, the Sri Lankan-born man returned to Australia, where he had citizenship.

‘Whatever your reason for returning to Australia, I’m not convinced it was motivated by your contrition,’ he said.

Nugara, who pleaded guilty to 27 charges of obtaining financial advantage by deception and two charges of theft, will be eligible for parole after serving six years and six months of his prison sentence.

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