Friday 22 September 2006 06- LAWFUEL – Law News Network – Mr Rocco Ferrantino, of the Gold Coast in Queensland, was today jailed by the Southport District Court following an investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). Mr Ferrantino was sentenced to two years in prison for his role in a superannuation rollover benefits scheme.
On 2 August 2006, Mr Ferrantino pleaded guilty to seven counts of dishonestly inducing holders of superannuation benefits to rollover their preserved superannuation benefits into 1st State Superannuation Funds, a superannuation fund connected to 1st State Home Loans Pty Ltd, and three counts of causing detriment to clients who had sought assistance from him in relation to the purchase of a house. On the charges of dishonestly inducing clients to rollover their superannuation, the Court sentenced Mr Ferrantino to 18 months imprisonment, to serve five months, and on the charges of causing detriment to his clients, Mr Ferrentino was sentenced to two years in prison suspended after five months.
ASIC alleged that between February 1998 and July 2001, Mr Ferrantino falsely advised clients who wanted to buy a home that their preserved superannuation could be used to assist them with the purchase price. Under the relevant superannuation regulations, preserved benefits are to be retained in superannuation funds until the owner of the policy retires after 55 years of age and/or when other limited criteria prescribed by the legislation are met. ASIC’s Executive Director of Enforcement, Ms Redfern said the jailing of Mr Ferrantino sent a clear message that those who dishonestly and deliberately advised clients about rolling over superannuation benefits would face consequences.
‘ASIC will take action to ensure that promoters of schemes designed to give consumers illegal early access to their superannuation are brought before the courts. We also remind consumers that establishing a self-managed superannuation fund for the purpose of gaining early access to preserved superannuation is prohibited, and may expose consumers to significant tax penalties and other risks’, Ms Redfern added. The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. Background The criminal charges against Mr Ferrantino follows successful civil action taken by ASIC in February 2003 where the Supreme Court of Queensland made orders appointing liquidators to 1st State Home Loans Pty Ltd and the property of related companies, Aynat Gold Nominees Pty Ltd, Ferndune Pty Ltd, United Project Developments Pty Ltd and Favstor Pty Ltd. In making the orders, the Supreme Court considered evidence from a receivers report that 95 investors had approximately $1.4 million of their funds released to 1st State Home Loans Pty Ltd.
For further information contact: Jan Redfern Executive Director, Enforcement Telephone: 02 9911 2191 Mobile: 0411 119 210 Danielle Huck ASIC Media Unit Telephone: 03 9280 3407 Mobile: 0417 540 769