Aus adviser stole client money to pay Wolf of Wall Street

Added 4th November 2016

An Australian financial adviser has been banned after he used client money to pay for a house, cosmetic surgery for his partner, and to repay debts to Jordan Belfort, better known as the Wolf of Wall Street.

Aus adviser stole client money to pay Wolf of Wall Street

Described by Australian newspaper the Sydney Morning Herald as Belfort’s protégé, Ashley Grant Howard stole more than A$1.8m (£1.1m, $1.4m, €1.2m) from clients and was found by Asic to have preyed on older, more vulnerable people.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (Asic) said that Howard provided financial services when he was not licenced or authorised to do so. He also engaged in dishonest conduct, falsely claimed that the trading he was carrying out was authorised, and engaged in conduct that was "likely to mislead".

John Price, Asic commissioner, said: “Asic will take action to remove persons from the financial services industry to protect the public. Mr Howard's conduct was particularly bad in that, on occasions, he preyed on elderly and vulnerable people.” 

Tin and gem stones

Howard came to the attention of Asic in 2014 when he was investigated, along with others, in connection with the misappropriation of funds from the IPO of Elsmore Resources Limited in 2013, where he was a director.

A prospectus from the time described Elsmore as a mining and exploration company in New South Wales focused on tin and gem stones.

John Gaffney, chairman of the now-delisted Elsmore Resources, told Australian news site SmartCompany, that the lifetime ban from providing financial services was “not enough” given the damage Howard had caused.

“He blatantly stole over a million dollars and created havoc for the company,” Gaffney said. “I’m still trying to clean up the mess.”

Elsmore has pursued legal action to recover the allegedly misappropriated funds from Howard and his associates, Periwinkle Investments Pty Ltd, HF Global Corporate Financial, and an individual named Harry Fung.

Asic added, however, that Howard is currently bankrupt making it difficult for the company to enforce the repayment action against him. 

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About Author

Kirsten Hastings

Senior Reporter

Kirsten is a senior reporter for International Adviser, covering global news stories about the financial services industry. She joined Last Word Media in October 2015 after two years working as a reporter covering the staffing and recruitment industry. Kirsten has a Masters in Financial Journalism from the University of Stirling. 

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