Trio exposed: Inside Australia’s biggest superannuation fraud
By ALISTAIR LANGFORD-WILSON, CYD MARDON
Nov. 1, 2014, 6 a.m.
It’s been almost five years since Australian Federal Police officers stormed the Sydney offices of Trio Capital, lifting the lid on the country’s biggest superannuation fraud.
Some 220 Illawarra residents were among 6000 Australians robbed of $176 million in hard-earned retirement savings.
The official version of the truth is that the fraud was orchestrated from Hong Kong by a dodgy American named Jack Flader.
Officially, the money vanished into Flader’s murky empire overseas, never to be found.
And officially, those who ran the Australian companies were just his puppets, including his chief lieutenant here, Shawn Richard.
The portrayal of this fraud as a crime run from overseas is pivotal because it allows regulators to explain why they failed to prevent the crime, and why they haven’t done a better job of prosecuting it: it occurred overseas, beyond their jurisdiction.
But today, the Mercury publishes fresh evidence which shows key elements of the crime, including illegal transfers, occurred not overseas but wholly within Australia.
We show that far from vanishing overseas, millions of dollars was ripped off from Illawara investors to prop up Trio’s rotten businesses right here in Australia.
Mercury editor ALISTAIR LANGFORD-WILSON and senior journalist CYDONEE MARDON investigate.
And next week:
•We will reveal that the evidence investigators had implicated Shawn Richard as the mastermind, not Jack Flader. Yet when Richard told them Flader was the boss, they took his word for it.
•Key players speak out for the first time: They believed in Shawn Richard as a boss, a mate, a businessman. Now they say they were betrayed by the best liar they ever met.
•We will prove that denying compensation to hundreds of Illawarra investors was an injustice with no basis in logic or the facts.