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BFCSA investigates fraud involving lenders, spruikers and financial planners worldwide.  Full Doc, Low Doc, No Doc loans, Lines of Credit and Buffer loans appear to be normal profit making financial products, however, these loans are set to implode within seven years.  For the past two decades, Ms Brailey, President of BFCSA (Inc), has been a tireless campaigner, championing the cause of older and low income people around the Globe who have fallen victim to banking and finance scams.  She has found that people of all ages are being targeted by Bankers offering faulty lending products. BFCSA warn that anyone who has signed up for one of these financial products, is in grave danger of losing their home.


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BFCSA: Courts soft on white-collar crime: former top judge

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Date March 23, 2012 by Ben Butler


FORMER Federal Court judge Ray Finkelstein, QC, has slammed the judiciary for being soft on white-collar crime, saying lenient sentencing creates the impression of one law for the rich and another for the poor.

Mr Finkelstein, who retired from the Federal Court last year and headed the Gillard government's recent media inquiry, also raised the possibility that for some white-collar crimes the level of proof required to convict could be lowered from the traditional criminal level of ''beyond reasonable doubt''.

In an article published in the Tax Office magazine Targeting Tax Crime, he said deterring others was ''usually the sole guiding principle'' judges used when sentencing white-collar criminals.

''Most judges believe that the humiliation, loss of job and loss of status experienced by white-collar criminals when they are apprehended, brought to trial and punished is usually sufficient punishment,'' he said.

Judges tended to compromise by imposing short, weekend or suspended sentences, he said. ''I do not agree with this approach.''

He said judges tended to regard imprisonment of white-collar criminals as a ''last resort'' because they believed ''imprisonment has a far greater detrimental effect on a white collar criminal''.

''In some cases the judge will take into account the accused's ability to make restitution as a factor that eliminates the need for a prison sentence,'' he said.

''This approach to sentencing inevitably leads the public to the conclusion that there is a law for the rich and a law for the poor.''

Generally regarded as one of the sharpest judges to sit on the Federal Court bench, Mr Finkelstein presided over some of Australia's highest-profile corporate law cases, including those following the 2008 collapse of broker Opes Prime amid allegations of fraud and the 2005 insider trading case brought against Steve Vizard.

In the Vizard case, Mr Finkelstein banned the former comedian from managing companies for 10 years, saying that ''a message must be sent to the business community that for white collar offences 'the game is not worth the candle'.''

In his article, he said the fight against white-collar crime was often hampered by narrow interpretations taken by courts, which defeat the intentions of Parliament, and the difficulty of establishing a guilty mind in complex fraud cases.

The need to establish a guilty conscience could be abolished from some crimes and ''there may be some crimes where the courts can state that the standard of proof should be lower than 'beyond reasonable doubt''', he said.

Defence lawyer Rob Stary, a past president of the Law Institute of Victoria's criminal law section, said someone who held up a milk bar and netted a few hundred dollars would serve about the same jail time - between 18 months and two years - as someone who committed a million-dollar fraud.

''If you committed an armed robbery for a million dollars … you'd be going to jail for 10 years,'' he said. He said that in his own practice white-collar defendants were able to brief ''the cream of the criminal bar''.

''There's no doubt about it, the better resourced you are the better the outcome you'll get.''

Mr Stary said Mr Finkelstein's proposal to water down the standard of proof entered ''uncharted waters'' and would be anathema to most criminal lawyers.

The deputy chairman of the Victorian Criminal Bar Association, Michael Cahill, said the attitude taken by judges to sentencing white-collar criminals varied from state to state. ''But in Victoria, experience and the statistics show that the courts are imposing more and longer sentences in white-collar fraud cases,'' he said.

Last year, the Supreme Court jailed Chartwell boss Graeme Hoy, who defrauded Geelong families of $16 million, for 13 years and nine months.

Read more:


Chartwell Enterprises boss Graeme Hoy admits to rip-off scheme

Grame Hoy outside court

Former Chartwell Enterprises director Graeme Hoy pictured outside court. Picture: Supplied / Geelong Advertiser Source: Herald Sun


THE man behind Australia'’s biggest "Ponzi scheme" has told the Supreme Court today he will plead guilty to more than 40 charges.

Graeme Hoy, 66, was the brains behind Chartwell Enterprises, which ripped off hundreds of investors, mainly in the Geelong area.

Hoy was originally to face trial next year on over 200 charges, but his lawyer told the court today that he would now plead guilty to 47 counts related to the collapse of Chartwell in April 2008.

Justice Terry Forrest adjourned the case until December 9 and extended Hoy’s bail.

Hoy used Chartwell to fund a high living lifestyle of yachts, mansions and luxury cars.

Earlier this year, a co-accused Ian Rau was jailed for 18 months after pleading guilty in the Supreme Court to a number of counts in relations to the Chartwell Collapse and he had agreed to give evidence against Hoy.

A Ponzi scheme uses investors funds instead of profits to pay often high returns, and requires ever increasing investments to keep the scheme going before inevitably collapsing.

Justice Forrest said he believed that a pre-sentence plea hearing for Hoy should take place in Geelong, where most of the investors lived.

A number of people lost their life savings when Chartwell collapsed spectacularly.

Chartwell promised investors returns of 50-70 per cent on their savings, but now they have little prospect of getting their money back.


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  • Denise
    Denise Friday, 05 April 2013

    FORMER Federal Court Judge Ray Finkelstein, QC, a very learned man indeed. I wonder if in retirement he would be appalled at what ASIC and FOS and COSL are doing. [email protected]

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