24th February 2024

Better business. Better community

Business Industry and Financial

How Banned Aussie Built Financial Network of 5 Firms

A
decade-long ban from participating in the financial industry was no obstacle
for an Australian who, during this period, established as many as five
different investment firms.

Now, Joshua
David Fuoco, a former Melbourne financial services director, is facing contempt
of court proceedings brought by the Australian Securities and Investments
Commission (ASIC).

10-Year Ban, 5 Firms, and
$8 Million in Fines

In 2018, Fuoco
was banned by the Federal Court from operating or being involved in financial
services for 10 years. However, ASIC now alleges that between March 2019 and
April 2023, Fuoco carried on a financial services business through five
companies.

The
companies named by ASIC are State Advice Pty Ltd, Ansa Finance Pty Ltd, AFSL
Group Pty Ltd, About Advice Pty Ltd and Advice Now Pty Ltd.

Potential
penalties include fines, asset seizures, or even imprisonment if found in
contempt. The Federal Court will hear the allegations, but a date is yet to be
set.

In 2018,
the Court determined Fuoco contravened financial services laws and engaged in
misleading conduct and unconscionable conduct. He and his businesses at the
time were ordered to pay over $8 million in fines and costs.

The fresh
legal action indicates authorities are closely monitoring the banned former
director and will act if he breaches orders. The outcome of contempt
proceedings could have significant personal and professional consequences.

ASIC Steps Up Efforts against
Illegal Financial Services

ASIC has
recently intensified its crackdown on illegal financial services platforms and
fraudsters. In November, the market watchdog published its first “investor
alert list” which identified 52 unlicensed entities and 25 websites
impersonating legitimate companies.

Previously,
ASIC published a “Companies you should not deal with” list containing
only the names of unlicensed firms. The new investor alert list categorizes
entities as either “unlicensed” or “imposter” and added 1,256 unlicensed entities from the old list, labeling them
“unlicensed (legacy).”

In addition
to the investor alert list, ASIC recently revealed actions against over 2,500
investment scams and phishing websites over the past year. This includes
utilizing a new scam website takedown capability to remove 2,100 websites, with
400 more in progress.

ASIC’s
increased focus on illegal investment schemes follows the Australians that reported
losing a record AU$3.1 billion to scams in 2022. Of that, AU$1.5 billion was
lost specifically to investment fraud.

The
institution has further extended the deadline for Australian Financial Service
license holders to register affiliated financial advisers who provide retail
investing advice. The new deadline is 16 February 2024, after multiple previous
extensions.

A
decade-long ban from participating in the financial industry was no obstacle
for an Australian who, during this period, established as many as five
different investment firms.

Now, Joshua
David Fuoco, a former Melbourne financial services director, is facing contempt
of court proceedings brought by the Australian Securities and Investments
Commission (ASIC).

10-Year Ban, 5 Firms, and
$8 Million in Fines

In 2018, Fuoco
was banned by the Federal Court from operating or being involved in financial
services for 10 years. However, ASIC now alleges that between March 2019 and
April 2023, Fuoco carried on a financial services business through five
companies.

The
companies named by ASIC are State Advice Pty Ltd, Ansa Finance Pty Ltd, AFSL
Group Pty Ltd, About Advice Pty Ltd and Advice Now Pty Ltd.

Potential
penalties include fines, asset seizures, or even imprisonment if found in
contempt. The Federal Court will hear the allegations, but a date is yet to be
set.

In 2018,
the Court determined Fuoco contravened financial services laws and engaged in
misleading conduct and unconscionable conduct. He and his businesses at the
time were ordered to pay over $8 million in fines and costs.

The fresh
legal action indicates authorities are closely monitoring the banned former
director and will act if he breaches orders. The outcome of contempt
proceedings could have significant personal and professional consequences.

ASIC Steps Up Efforts against
Illegal Financial Services

ASIC has
recently intensified its crackdown on illegal financial services platforms and
fraudsters. In November, the market watchdog published its first “investor
alert list” which identified 52 unlicensed entities and 25 websites
impersonating legitimate companies.

Previously,
ASIC published a “Companies you should not deal with” list containing
only the names of unlicensed firms. The new investor alert list categorizes
entities as either “unlicensed” or “imposter” and added 1,256 unlicensed entities from the old list, labeling them
“unlicensed (legacy).”

In addition
to the investor alert list, ASIC recently revealed actions against over 2,500
investment scams and phishing websites over the past year. This includes
utilizing a new scam website takedown capability to remove 2,100 websites, with
400 more in progress.

ASIC’s
increased focus on illegal investment schemes follows the Australians that reported
losing a record AU$3.1 billion to scams in 2022. Of that, AU$1.5 billion was
lost specifically to investment fraud.

The
institution has further extended the deadline for Australian Financial Service
license holders to register affiliated financial advisers who provide retail
investing advice. The new deadline is 16 February 2024, after multiple previous
extensions.


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