Former financial adviser Ahmed Saad has been sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment for operating a scheme where he illegally allowed clients early access to superannuation funds.
The Glenroy, Victoria, resident was convicted by the County Court of Victoria of one count of obtaining financial advantage by deception and one count of attempting to obtain financial advantage by deception.
Saad was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment for the first count and one month’s imprisonment for the second, to be served concurrently, after being found to have facilitated unlawful early access to superannuation.
He was also sentenced to an 18-month community correction order, including 100 hours of unpaid community work.
From 10 April, 2012, until 16 October, 2017, Saad was the sole director Saad Wealth Management and was an authorised representatives of Apogee Financial Planning.
Beginning in October 2016, Saad operated a scheme in which he provided his clients illegal early access to their superannuation funds.
Saad submitted applications for one-off advice fees to NULIS Nominees, as trustee for the MLC Super Fund, in which he represented he had provided financial services to his clients when he had not. He would then pay these funds back to clients, facilitating unlawful early release of superannuation.
Between 11 November, 2016, and 13 October, 2017, Saad obtained $1,531,925 from NULIS on behalf of 168 clients.
Between 11 August 2017, and 11 October 2017, Saad attempted to obtain a further $92,400 on behalf of 10 clients and indirectly benefited from the scheme by growing his client base.
Saad was sentenced on 23 November 2021 after he first appeared before court on 24 February and entered a plea of guilty on 21 April, 2021.
The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions following a referral from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) which led to Saad being banned in December 2018.
Sarah Court, ASIC deputy chair, said the sentence imposed demonstrated the seriousness of the misconduct.
“Facilitating the unlawful early release of superannuation can lead to the erosion of people’s super balances, which has the potential to lead to long-term hardship,” Court said.
“ASIC will continue to take action to protect the superannuation assets of consumers.”