Former Adelaide financial adviser James Gibbs has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for theft and other dishonesty offences committed when he was director of James Gibbs Investments Pty Ltd (JGI), totalling approximately $4.88 million.
The 10-year sentence was handed down by the District Court of South Australia, with a non-parole period of seven years.
Gibbs had previously pleaded guilty to all charges, which he committed against his clients between 20 August 2009 and 30 July 2016.
He was a financial adviser responsible for operating clients self-managed superannuation accounts as well as opening new accounts. In some cases, he had been given complete control of his clients’ affairs which enabled him to conduct unauthorized transactions and steal funds.
Gibbs had used clients’ funds for his own benefit, including propping up his business, paying his credit card debts, paying himself, and for gambling.
Between 25 June 2012 and 30 July 2016, Gibbs also created and used false documents, including bank documents and member statements which he used to lie to his clients about the value of their investment portfolios.
Danielle Press, Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) Commissioner, said ASIC’s investigation revealed Gibbs deliberately withheld information from clients to avoid detection.
“Financial advisers should always allow clients to access information about their own investments, and clients should be concerned if this is not occurring,” Press said.
Gibbs was also automatically disqualified from managing a corporation for five years.