A former investment company director has been sent to prison following ASIC action, and is due to give birth during the first month of her incarceration.
Tania Michele Oakley, 38, of Noosa, Queensland, pleaded guilty in the Maroochydore District Court to three criminal charges following ASIC’s investigation into her conduct.
The charges related to her role as the sole director of what an ASIC statement described as “purported investment company”, Tanoak Pty Ltd.
The charges to which Oakley has pleaded guilty are:
one count of directly or indirectly gaining an advantage for herself. ASIC alleged that she used approximately $766,900 of investor funds to purchase a house, and that the funds had been invested with her company to purchase equities on behalf of investors;
one count, while carrying on a financial services business, of engaging in dishonest conduct in relation to a financial product or financial service. ASIC alleged that Oakley issued false statements to about 10 investors to cover losses she had made from trading investors’ funds; and
one count of carrying on a financial services business without holding an AFS licence covering the provision of the financial service.
The majority of the investors to which the charges relate live on the Sunshine Coast, while some also live in Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra.
Oakley was sentenced to 24 months jail, but ordered to serve six months.
“Directors must act honestly and must not use their position to advantage themselves,” said ASIC Deputy Chairman Belinda Gibson. “When the conduct of gatekeepers like directors is in complete contrast to the standards the public expect them to uphold, we will act.”
Clients spring to defence
However, in an interesting twist, the Sunshine Coast Daily reported that two of her former clients, who together claim to have lost around $1.15m, wrote references in support of Oakley – with one even flying back from Europe to support her in court.
Defence counsel Jeff Hunter stated that Oakley’s intentions were always lawful. Her trading reputation carried into her role as tutor at the Australian College of Financial Services, where students asked Oakley to invest on their behalf, a practice the Sunshine Coast Daily says grew and eventually led to her starting her own financial advice business.
"This wasn't a scam where she was trying to induce vulnerable people to contribute money," he said. “On the contrary, people were coming to her asking her to invest money.”
Oakley claimed to have lost the will to trade after two failed attempts at IVF, however, continued trading and fell pregnant naturally to what has been dubbed as a ‘miracle baby’ before being formally charged with the offences in May.
As a result of pleading guilty to all charges, Oakley will likely be able to care for her baby while incarcerated.
PAUL HERRING on 06 Sep 2012 10:16 AM
Tania's activities have still brought our industry into disrepute despite any other mitigating circumstances and she would have known this at the time. I don't feel sorry for her.
Ken on 10 Sep 2012 03:18 PM
its sad tho when we report a potential scam such that liz orchid had done to ASIC and no follow up. People i knew tried to bring me as a planner in and I warned them it did sound to good to be true and Liz did not have any authorisation as an advisor to my knowledge. she is now caught but so many have lost there life savings! Where was ASIC?
Jim on 11 Sep 2012 10:00 PM
As a former client of Tania's, I can assure you that she checked all the necessary areas in which she was conducting her business. She was very open and honest about not having a license and had been advised by a reputable financial firm on the Sunshine Coast that she did not need one due to the nature of her business. She was always very open and honest with all clients during her tutorials in teaching us to trade and never did she give advice as to where we should be investing our money although we did try to get it out of her on many occasions. She was an educater and a bloody good one and it is a very sad day to see that she has been jailed for something that ASIC took more than 3 years to investigate, clearly not finding much. All articles written on this matter fail to say that she made more than 8 million, a substancial amount of it, her own money in addition to the 1.5 million clients asked her to trade for them. Buying a house with this money, does not seem to be a crime to me. Every article on this matter also fails to mention that over 40 of her clients wrote exceptionally positive character references about her and that also 4 of the people ASIC claim that she "SCAMMED" were supporting her in court on the day she was sentenced. Another three would have been there if it wasn't for work committments outside of the local area. She has not brought this industry into disrepute, if anything, she was the first I have come across that was honest and transparent in the history of my investing in this type of industry. A rare person indeed. ASIC had investigated her previously during the 7 yearsof her business which she disclosed to all of us and they found nothing wrong with what she was doing. Ths time I feel she was targeted for ASIC's 3 years of failed findings,4 ASIC investigators quit the case because they could come up with no evidence against her, the 5th one engaged in badgering clients, trying to bully us into admitting wrong doings, something none of us were ever going to adhere to, to come up with something quite lame, therefore justifing their complete waste of tax payers funds in their investigation. Well done ASIC, you took out a very honest, caring and decent person in this industry.
Jason Freiheit on 10 Nov 2012 05:13 AM
I would also like to speak out in support of Tania Oakley and confirm that the words spoken by "Jim" in the post above me are true. She is as honest a person and a victim in this situation. The fact is she was and is as good as a person I have ever met and does not deserve to be held behind bars, her good name sullied and with child. As stated above, her own supposed "victims" spoke out on her behalf, so you don't need to take just my word from it. I hope her and her family are doing well.