ASIC takes bankruptcy action against banned finfluencer

finfluencer ASIC federal court

20 October 2023
| By Rhea Nath |
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The corporate regulator has taken finfluencer Tyson Scholz to court relating to a debt of more than $450,000 owed to ASIC. 

It relates to legal proceedings against the finfluencer dating back to 2021, when ASIC sought orders restraining Scholz from promoting or carrying on any financial services business in Australia. 

The court found Scholz, who also goes by the moniker ‘ASX Wolf’, contravened s911A of the Corporations Act by carrying on a financial service business between March 2020 and November 2021, without an Australian financial services licence (AFSL).

ASIC said Scholz delivered training courses and seminars about trading in securities on the Australian Securities Exchange and promoted them to his more than 118,000 followers on social media. His business to paying subscribers included subscription/membership fees of $500, $1,000 or $1,500 and offering various levels of training courses. 

He also offered individual one-off share suggestions or ‘tips’ for a fee and access to a private chat site, named ‘Black Wolf Pit’, using online communications platform Discord.

He describes himself on Instagram as a global equity trader with over 10 years of experience and continues to share his globe-trotting lifestyle with his followers. 

In April this year, the court made permanent injunctions against him, permanently prohibiting Scholz from: 

  • Hosting online groups for which a membership fee is charged, and in which messages are exchanged by members about share trades (either in a group chat or through direct messages from Scholz), without an AFSL; and 
  • Carrying on a financial services business in Australia in contravention of s911A of the Corporations Act

In a statement to Money Management, ASIC confirmed it filed a creditor’s petition against Scholz on 18 October. 

This related to a debt to ASIC for $456,296.64, due under an order for costs dated 22 June 2023 for the expenses of the previous legal proceedings. 

As outlined by the Australian Financial Security Authority, parties are able to apply to the court to have a person made bankrupt if they owe amounts of $10,000 or more. 

To do this, they need to prove a person has committed an ‘act of bankruptcy’ within the six months prior to the application, with the most common act being failure to comply with a bankruptcy notice.

When the creditor’s petition is presented to the court, the court may make a sequestration order which makes the person bankrupt.

According to court listings, a hearing has been scheduled on this matter for 21 November.

There has been a recent crackdown on finfluencers, with ASIC stating last year that finfluencers now need to have an AFSL if they want to carry on a business providing financial advice.

In addition to Scholz, the regulator has taken action against finfluencer Gabriel Govinda for market manipulation and finfluencer conduct, who was sentenced to two and half years’ imprisonment. 

Between September 2014 to July 2015, Govinda used 13 different share trading accounts, held in the names of friends and relatives, to manipulate the share price of 20 different listed stocks.

He also illegally disseminated information about his wash trades and dummy bids on HotCopper. He was seeking to increase (or pump) the share price, then selling (or dumping) the listed stocks at a higher price.
 

 

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Submitted by Alan Davison on Thu, 2023-12-14 18:04

Hi Rhea, any idea of the outcome of the Nov 21st Hearing?

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