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ADF Financial Services Consumer Council
March 18, 2010
YOU'RE probably very good
at judging people's char-
acter and spotting false
You need to keep in mind that there
are people out there who will mislead
and deceive you in an attempt to get
And the winner is...
The 2010 Pie in the Sky award goes
to the Little Super Fund and its trustee,
Gerard Karl Little.
Little promoted his scheme initially
through advertising in suburban news-
papers, using phrases like 'Cash in
your superannuation'. He would help
people 'roll' over their super into the
Little Super Fund.
Over a four-year period he skimmed
more than $680,000 worth of super
savings from 121 different people.
ASIC Chairman, Tony
D'Aloisio, says the
Pie in the Sky awards
name and shame
That's about 25 per cent of each super
account he pocketed illegally.
Super is for retirement
Generally you can only qualify to
draw on your super when you perma-
nently retire and reach the minimum
age set by law.
If you're like most members of the
ADF, you're probably a member of a
military super fund.
It still pays to know what's happen-
ing in the world of superannuation as
you may have family members with
their own super or you may contribute
to an additional super fund, or even a
self-managed super fund.
Who is a target?
Scammers often target people in
financial strife such as retrenched
workers, or people with a lot of debts.
If you're worried someone might
be involved in a scam you should sug-
gest that they get professional advice
before signing any documents.
It's understandable that people
may be attracted to early access of
super promotions, particularly in hard
times when people find it difficult to
meet financial commitments, but going
down this path just creates more prob-
lems for people, not fewer.
Victims are convinced by these
promoters that accessing super is a
solution to their money problems. The
reality is the promoters are looking for
a way to scam people out of their super
savings. Cheating people out of their
hard earned super is not just wrong,
it's illegal and the penalties are severe.
About Pie in the Sky
The Pie in the Sky award is award-
ed to the most outrageous, far-fetched
or insidious financial scam.
Past winners have included an
advanced fee fraud scam that asked
people to help a Togo barrister access
$17 million from the estate of a man
who was killed in the 2006 Boxing
Day tsunami, and the Mercorella Ponzi
scheme where South Australian inves-
tors lost $76 million.
Keep up to date at www.scam-
watch.gov.au. Managed by the ACCC,
this website has lots of details about
many different types of scams.
If you know of a scam you want to
nominate for the next awards, email
email@example.com. There is a
$100 prize for those who nominate
scams that win an award.
For more information about financial scams,
go to ASIC's consumer website, FIDO at
www.fido.gov.au or call on 1300 300 630.
E-mail ASIC with topics that interest you at
There are some simple ways to spot
scams and avoid painful losses.
High rates of return
Always beware of investments that
offer very high returns. If you are
offered an investment that sounds
too good to be true, then it probably
isn't true. With money and invest-
ments, a guaranteed return is only
as reliable as the person or company
Scams are usually presented as 'time-
critical' but they're really just trying
to take your money before you have
a chance to check the offer properly.
Trusting people you know
Sometimes people can innocently
be used to sell dangerous schemes,
including scams. It's called affinity
fraud. Information and friendly advice
can be helpful, but be extra cautious
with tips about specific investment
opportunities. You may need advice
from a licensed adviser.
You can check a business offering a
financial product or a financial advis-
er by searching ASIC's online registers
to see if they are licensed, as required
by law, at www.asic.gov.au
BIGGEST: Bernard Madoff was sentenced to 150 years for defrauding
clients of US$65bn -- investigators still don't know where most of the
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
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