21-079MR Former Victorian financial adviser pleads guilty to obtaining financial advantage by deception

On 21 April 2021, Mr Ahmed Saad, of Glenroy, Victoria, pleaded guilty to one count of obtaining financial advantage by deception and one count of attempting to obtain financial advantage by deception.

Mr Saad was an authorised representative of Apogee Financial Planning Limited (Apogee) and operated a scheme providing illegal early access to superannuation funds for his clients while working at Apogee.

This scheme involved Mr Saad submitting applications for one-off advice fees to NULIS Nominees (Australia) Limited (Nulis), as trustee for the MLC Super Fund, supposedly for financial services that he claimed he had provided to clients. Mr Saad, however, had not provided any services and instead paid the funds back to clients, facilitating unlawful early release of their superannuation entitlements.

Between 11 November 2016 and 13 October 2017, Mr Saad obtained $1,531,925 from Nulis on behalf of 168 clients. Between 11 August 2017 and 11 October 2017, Mr Saad attempted to obtain a further $92,400 on behalf of 10 clients.

Mr Saad was charged on 24 February 2021 (21-032MR).

Each offence carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment.

The matter has been adjourned until 25 October 2021 for a plea hearing before the County Court.

The matter is being prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions following a referral from ASIC.

From 10 April 2012 until 16 October 2017, Mr Saad and his business, Saad Wealth Management Pty Ltd, of which Mr Saad was the sole director, were authorised representatives of Apogee. In October 2017, their letter of authority was revoked by Apogee.

Mr Saad’s conduct was previously reported to ASIC by Apogee. The charges follow an ASIC investigation and ASIC’s permanent banning of Mr Saad from providing financial services in December 2018 (18-383MR).

Editor’s note:

The plea hearing before the County Court has been postponed until 15 November 2021.

Editor’s note 2:

At the conclusion of his plea hearing on 15 November 2021, Mr Saad’s bail was revoked and he was remanded in custody prior to sentence. The matter was adjourned for sentencing on 23 November 2021.

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