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$1.5 million gone as ‘investment guru’ pleads guilty to fraud

·2-min read
Queensland court building sign and $100 notes
A self-proclaimed ‘investment guru’ has pleaded guilty to fraud charges in the Brisbane Supreme Court (Source: Getty/Brisbane Supreme Court)

Roger Munro, an “investment guru” has pleaded guilty to three charges of fraud and faces up to 36 years in prison for misappropriating up to $1.5 million in investor funds.

ASIC filed five fraud charges against Munro but two charges were later dropped due to witnesses being unavailable, ASIC said.

Munro received funds from investors for a trading fund, but instead of investing the money he used it for himself, ASIC said.

The charges said Munro told investors the money was invested into a fund called TradeStation Futures Fund (TradeStation) and would falsely report profits and losses, all the while using the money for his own personal use.

Munro had raised over $1.5 million from investors, friends and family for trading purposes, but failed to keep or produce any books or records to ASIC.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 12 years, so Munro could face up to 36 years in prison when he faces sentencing next week.

Timeline of events

ASIC commenced its initial proceedings against Munro and in July 2015 after the regulator found Munro was not licensed to work in financial services.

ASIC alleged that since August 2011, Munro operated an unlicensed financial services business in Australia.

ASIC also determines that Munro has been telling his investors that they had been generating profits from trading when in fact he had lost money.

Additionally, ASIC found that a significant portion of investors' money had been transferred to a brokerage account which was then transferred into a bank account.

In March 2017 Munro was arrested and charged with fraud by Queensland police.

And, in July 2021 Munro pleaded guilty to three charges of fraud and will face sentencing next week.

Previous scandals

This is not the first time Munro has been under the microscope for his investment practices who once owned his own trading platform in North Queensland.

Munro was once part of an investment scheme which lost $60 million during the global financial crisis, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Munro had maintained the $60 million was accessible via a blind trust in North America. Former investors have claimed Munro told them the money could be accessed with his retinal scan like something out of a James Bond film.

At the time when ASIC was trying to pursue charges against Munro for the scheme his lawyers declined to comment. However, Munro had previously said he would vigorously defend any action brought against him.

Some investors alleged the missing money is actually much more in the range of close to $95 million including alleged gains from the investment.

ASIC said it was unable to track down the initial venture money but the Commonwealth Director of Prosecutions said there were no reasonable prospects for conviction so no charges were ever brought.

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