ASIC Shuts Down Gold Coast Crypto Investment Scheme ‘A One Multi’, $2.4 Million in Crypto Seized

November 06, 2021, 9:45 AM AEST - 3 weeks ago

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has obtained Federal Court orders to shut down unlicensed Gold Coast financial services business A One Multi for suspected unlawful activity.

Interim orders and injunctions have been filed by ASIC against the company and its directors, Aryn Hala and Heidi Walters, to protect investors.

Self-Managed Super Funds Misappropriated

It’s alleged that Hala misled investors by convincing them to loan their superannuation funds to A One Multi and receive annual returns of over 20 percent.

Between January 1, 2019, and June 30, 2021, more than 60 self-managed super fund investors deposited approximately A$25 million into A One Multi’s accounts. ASIC alleges Hala used more than A$5.7 million of those funds for his and partner Walters’ personal benefit, including acquiring real estate and luxury vehicles in their names, and that a further A$2.4 million was transferred from A One Multi to buy crypto-assets.

On October 21, the Federal Court in Queensland made the following orders to protect investors:

  • that A One Multi be placed in receivership;
  • that asset preservation orders be issued against Hala, Walters and A One Multi;
  • that Hala transfer crypto-assets in his name to the receivers;
  • that orders be issued requiring the disclosure of information to ASIC against Hala, Walters and A One Multi, including in relation to the crypto-asset holdings; and
  • that travel restraint orders be issued against Hala and Walters.

The first tranche of crypto-assets held in Hala’s name was transferred to the receivers on October 25, and the court has since ordered the defendants to attend an ASIC office to facilitate the transfer of remaining crypto-assets.

Busy Week for ASIC in Queensland

While the A One Multi case is ongoing, it follows action taken by ASIC against Gold Coast timeshare business Ultiqa earlier this week. It also imposed a three-year ban on Queensland investment adviser Keith Robert McDermott for similarly failing to provide advice in clients’ best interests.

In what was clearly a busy week for crypto-related financial activities in Queensland, an A$100 million class-action lawsuit was filed against the Gold Coast-based issuers of controversial token Qoin.

As Crypto News Australia also reported in July, ASIC’s then-incoming new chairman Joe Longo warned that crypto trading in Australia was becoming “a significant area of concern”. Just a month later, ASIC issued further warnings to Australian investors about using unlicensed crypto companies.

Last month, ASIC began monitoring social media and messaging platforms as an early warning against pump-and-dump schemes.

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