ASIC has obtained interim court orders against the operators of three Brisbane-based unlicensed financial services businesses.

The order prevents them from carrying on activities while freezing money held in three bank accounts.

ASIC alleges that Secured Collateral, Diversified Collateral and Intra Management used cold calling and a website to induce investors to deposit funds into a number of bank accounts.

They were promised that the funds would be used to buy shares on behalf of the investors and generate returns well above market rates.

The regulator alleges none of the respondents hold an Australian financial services (AFS) licence or are authorised through an AFS licensee.

Three by three

The action follows the granting of injunctions in October by the Supreme Court of Queensland against Secured Collateral Pty Ltd, Diversified Collateral Pty Ltd, Intra Management Pty Ltd, Keiron Michael Weertman, Dylan Robson and Shane Rodney Hasell.

ASIC further alleges that Weertman, Robson and Hasell, the sole directors of Secured Collateral, Diversified Collateral and Intra Management, respectively, withdrew the money from company bank accounts in cash.

“ASIC’s enquiries to date have not been able to substantiate that shares were purchased by Secured Collateral, Diversified Collateral and Intra Management on behalf of investors,” said the regulator in a statement.

“ASIC is aware at this stage of its investigation that between late May 2012 to mid-October 2012 approximately $1,000,000 had been deposited to the accounts and approximately $700,000 of those funds has been withdrawn.”

The injunctions restrain the respondents from further carrying on the businesses or any other financial services business including dealing with approximately $270,000 held in three bank accounts.

They are also required to suspend all websites within their power or control promoting, advertising or offering financial services.

Fraudsters in action

More generally, ASIC observed that there has been a rise in this sort of investment fraud over the past 12 months.