Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

Financial Director sentenced for serious financial fraud

Date of Publication: 
14 November 2017

Brisbane man, 63-year-old, Bradley Sherwin, former director of a number of companies collectively known as Sherwin Companies was today sentenced in the Brisbane District Court to 10 years’ imprisonment with a parole eligibility after 4 years. Mr Sherwin pleaded guilty to 25 charges which relate to causing a loss of almost $10 million to the trustees of one or more superannuation funds and falsely reporting almost $4.5 million worth of payments over a 4 month period.

Between 1986 and 2008, Mr Sherwin established a number of companies including Sherwin Financial Planners. Mr Sherwin recommended to Sherwin Financial Planners clients that they establish self-managed superannuation funds. Money from these funds were held in a Bank of Queensland Money Market Deposit Account (MMDA) which was managed by DDH Graham Limited, of which Sherwin Financial Planners were an authorised officer. DDH Graham carried out transactions on the MMDAs as requested in email instructions received from Mr Sherwin or another authorised officer. Each of the Sherwin Companies also held an MMDA in their own name.

Through Statements of Advice or Supplementary Statements of Advice, Sherwin Financial Planners was required to make recommendations on investment to its clients. By 2009, the property development financing aspects of the Sherwin Companies began to suffer financial difficulties; borrowers began to default on loan repayments and the Defendant was unable to recover the loaned money.  As a result, Mr Sherwin began to experience difficulty in arranging interest repayments and redemptions for investments made in the Sherwin Companies by Sherwin Financial Planners clients.  Therefore whilst clients of the self-managed superannuation funds appeared to have an investment, Mr Sherwin had begun arranging for the transfer of clients funds totalling nearly $10 million to be ‘invested’ into other financial companies owned by Mr Sherwin to assist in paying a debt of nearly $60 million owing to approximately 400 clients. By 2012, Mr Sherwin was constantly arranging for the transfer of money from one account to another to cover payments that were immediately due. Mr Sherwin’s conduct has caused his clients to face a capital loss in excess of $7.8 million.

Between July and September 2010, Mr Sherwin also dishonestly breached his duties as director of Wickham Securities Limited by falsely reporting payments of almost $4.5 million to cover up outstanding loans which had not been disclosed in Wickham’s Financial Reports and Quarterly Trustee Report.

CDPP Deputy Director of the Commercial, Financial and Corruption practice group, Shane Kirne described the case as a success where investigators and prosecutors worked effectively to detect, prosecute and deter serious criminal conduct.

‘Today’s sentence demonstrates crimes of this nature will not be tolerated and the strength of our law enforcement agencies working collaboratively with federal prosecutors to detect and breakdown sophisticated fraudulent conduct can, and will, result in strong penalties’, said Mr Kirne.

Charges

Mr Sherwin was charged with:

  • 24 counts of fraud with circumstances of aggravation – contrary to s408(C) of the Criminal Code (QLD)
  • 1 count of dishonestly failing to exercise powers and discharge duties as a director in good faith – contrary to s184 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)

CDPP Media contact: communications@cdpp.gov.au or 02 6206 5708