Early super release scammers to face jail time

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Fed up with scammers targeting your clients? New legislation is set to crack down on these rogues.

Acccording to Superannuation Minster Bill Shorten, the new legislation, which implements a number of the Stronger Super reforms, includes new penalties for promoters of illegal early super release schemes.

“Promoters of illegal early release schemes have in the past exploited vulnerable people within our community who may not be fully aware of the rules regarding accessing superannuation benefits. These new penalties will deter promoters from taking advantage of these people and help protect the superannuation savings of all Australians” said Shorten.

He noted that promoters of these schemes generally target non-English speaking communities predominantly in the western parts of Sydney and the western and northern parts of Melbourne.

Taking fees of up to 50% of the member’s superannuation balance, some promoters have facilitated the illegal release of up to $8m in super benefits. Some have even gone as far as stealing the entire balance or exploiting member’s identity data for other criminal purposes, said Shorten’s department.

Under the new laws (The Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Reducing Illegal Early Release and Other Measures) Bill 2012 and the Income Tax Rates Amendment (Unlawful Payments from Regulated Superannuation Funds) Bill 2012) promoters of illegal early release schemes will face civil and criminal penalties including a fine of up to $340,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 5 years.

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