SMSF accountant charged for misusing funds

3 February 2016

A New South Wales self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) accountant has been charged with 23 criminal counts, including 12 counts of making false and misleading statements, following an Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) investigation.

Nicholas James Ellis appeared before the Downing Centre Local Court, after ASIC alleged that between March 2009 and June 2010, the director of Tura Pty Ltd (in liquidation), made false or misleading statements to investors, and fraudulently misappropriated around $857,000 of investor funds.

Ellis also faces nine counts of fraudulently misappropriating money, one count of fraud, and one count benefiting financially through deception.

ASIC alleged that Ellis advised many of his clients to set up SMSFs through his financial planning business, 2020 Financial Solutions Pty Ltd.

It also alleged Ellis made false and misleading statements about an investment in a hotel at Tura, NSW, in order to raise funds from the SMSFs.

Ellis is accused of fraudulently misusing $857,000 of investor money for his own benefit, including towards buying a home in Sydney for over $3 million.

Ellis also used around $250,546 of the misused investor funds to pay out investors in a previous failed investment run by Ellis.

Each charge comes with a maximum penalty of between five and 10 years' imprisonment.

ASIC had previously banned Ellis from providing financial services for six years for other conduct in 2013.

The matter is being prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

Recommended for you



Good grief, how could such a thing happen.
Didn't a recent accounting spokesperson come out and say that "Accountants" should be treated differently in the SMSF space ?
Well, if you want to work in the same SMSF arena as a financial planner, accountants should also be subject to the same rules and regulations, as we are.
By the way, all the legislation in the world won't prevent poor advice or criminal behaviour until they create the perfect human being.

Just pointing out that most "accountants" generally don't handle client money other than ATO refunds. Public practitioners are also obligated to have their trust accounts audited each year where the practitioner is affiliated with a professional body (eg. CPA, CA, NTAA, IPA etc.). This is absent from the article, but what is evident is that this is yet another rogue planner allegedly defrauding the public.
There is also no evidence in the article that this practitioner was a "designated" SMSF specialist, or even if they were registered with any professional accounting bodies at all.

Ms Bettens, It is spelled "indicted"... While most of your overheated comments have been refuted by others, I suggest that you also learn to spell, and especially, improve your reading comprehension, in order to extrapolate what is written "Between the lines". Not every detail can be publicised.

Dear M/s Bettens,
First off please see a doctor for your jaundiced condition or at least have your "rose coloured" glasses checked.
To answer your last comment first, "Former Banned Financial Planner Endicted for SMSF fraud.
I did not see the word Financial Planner in the article but Accountant is certainly prominent !!
I'm well aware that Accountants and solicitors have their Trust accounts audited but if you check the list each year that are struck off their profession for fraudulent misconduct, you'll be surprised at the number who end up as guests of the crown. The auditing processes are no guarantee that bad behaviour doesn't take place. It sometimes takes time and a mistake by the so called smarter crooks to get caught.
I deal with a number of accounting firms so my comments come from a position of strength and I'm aware of some who should be in gaol for what they've done to their clients.
Unlike you, I don't believe we've found the perfect " human being" yet and that also includes your brethren

People can throw bricks at each other for all they like. The basic concern is a person who steals money does not think they will get caught' or care about what their profession is.... I do find it interesting that the SMSF funds were passed by the SMSF auditor. Perhaps this was how it was picked up, but the scale would suggest this was done over a number of years.....

Lyn Bettens, please.

Now Accountants will be watched/held accountable at a similar level to financial planners this kind of stuff will start to come to light all over the place. I just hope future articles continue to make it clear it is an Accountant trying to be a Financial Planner doing the wrong thing... Not an actual Financial Planner.

Looking at his adviser profile would show that actually he was a member of the SPAA, FPA, a registered tax accountant, and a PNA of the national institute of accountants.

Guys, this is not about throwing "bricks" at one another but lets not put one profession above the other when it comes people doing the wrong thing.
Since I studied tax law at University I have a reasonable grasp of what is a breach.
In one instance with an accountant there was an arrangement where his clients had set themselves up as a Part 1VA breach.
He agreed with me after I pointed it out but since previous accountants had done nothing about it, neither was he going to.
In another case I interviewed a client with his accountant that ran his own SMSF. As I listened and questioned the structure, my conclusion was that the fund was non complying. The accountant rang me later to suggest that the client did not like what I had to say.
In a subsequent interview between the accountant and just myself as we went through the structures, we only got half way through the process, when he said to me "it's non complying !!.
That fund was set up originally by a SMSF "expert" and had gone through 5 years of audits and no one picked up the problem.
Now if you think audits are the be all to end all, then some of you are going to be sadly disappointed
Please let me know when you find the perfect "human being".

Quick, make them get get PHD's in 6 months, do 500 hours CPD, halve their fees and disgrace them all over the media, and use them as political pawns.

Add new comment