Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP

Federal Treasurer P O Box 6022

House of Representatives:  Parliament House CANBERRA  ACT  2600

 

Collapse of Sterling New Life - ASIC CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE - $36 million losses.

 

Dear Mr Frydenberg 

 

By now you are no doubt aware of the mess that is the collapse of Sterling First (and all related

entities) and the uncovering of the criminal negligence of ASIC, which has put hundreds of Australian

retirees on the streets, stolen from investors, and left investment property owners with broke, elderly

tenants.

 

The damages from all known victims that have come forward so far is at $36 million and counting.

ASIC was well and truly aware of the problem with Sterling First no later than 2015 (evidence

suggests earlier) and still did nothing to stop the company from preying on this country’s elderly. This

goes way beyond negligence. At best this is criminal. ASIC are as good as complicit in Sterling First’s

actions.

 

ASIC recently lied to the public by telling the media they were unaware of this looming collapse, that

they first heard of Sterling Group in 2018. This is unacceptable. I wish I could say people expect

better from our government.

As treasurer, ASIC reports monthly, directly to you. The retirees, investors, home owners and

Australian public at large want answers.

·        When were the Sterling group of companies brought to your attention?

 

·        When were you told that the people behind Sterling were known con men?

 

The crimes of these individuals go back as far as the 80s.

 

·        How long did ASIC withhold this information from you?

 

·        Why wasn’t it shut down when ASIC first informed you?

 

·        Why were they allowed to continue (even when insolvent) selling their fake products to

 

vulnerable retirees in 2018/19 who were looking for a secure future.

 

·        Why was there not a single piece of negative information from ASIC on the internet or

 

any media source about this company despite the fact that ASIC were well aware of its short

 

comings for many years?

 

·        Why did ASIC do nothing to warn existing and future clients of the Sterling  group of the potential dangers?

 

·        Why have no charges been laid against those involved?

 

·        Have the passports been seized of the directors and conmen involved?

 

Prior to the last Federal election, you and your colleagues regaled us with the mantra that “if we had

a go, we’d get a go.” Now is the chance, Mr Frydenberg, to prove that these were not just empty

words. Is this the “go” meant for every- day Australians? Or does the “go” only apply to the white-

collar criminals who lift money straight from the hands of Pensioners?

 

The victims of this disaster are mostly elderly Australians who on average have had a working life of

50 years. These people have certainly had a go, and they had saved up for their retirement, so as not

to rely on government handouts in their senior years. Yet in one swift move, with the backing of the

Australian Government, everything they have saved over the course of their entire life has been

ripped away from them.

 

Are you going to give them a go and see their life savings returned or were your words just an empty

election slogan?

 

By the gross neglect of ASIC, all these pensioners have lost their savings, security, dignity, and have

been lumped with unimaginable stress. At least 3 are terminally ill.  Many others have deteriorating

health. It is disgraceful that the government hasn’t acted on this already.

 

You can judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.

 

Mr Shipton, as chairman of ASIC, allowed Sterling First to continue running ads targeting vulnerable,

elderly Australians. He let this continue even whilst the company was known to be a scam. He let this

continue even whilst the company was insolvent. As far as how you treat others goes, this gets a ‘no’

from me at every fork in the road.

These people worked all their life and paid tax to fund the salaries of people like Mr Shipton, only to

find their retirement savings pillaged to line the pockets of the con men that Mr Shipton was too

cowardly to stop. ASIC and Mr Shipton are criminally liable and grossly incompetent.

If ASIC had performed their duty, none of this would have happened. This is why we are demanding

that ASIC pay full compensation for their failure. A Government Agency is not exempt from their

responsibilities.

 

As Treasurer, Mr Frydenberg, you have the power to demand ASIC immediately pay out the $36

million (and counting) for their enabling this situation. This will at least help everyone involved

attempt to get their life back on track.

 

Please give this serious matter your utmost, immediate attention. There are pensioners who are

facing homelessness within weeks.