Described by Australian newspaper the Sydney Morning Herald as Belfort’s protégé, Ashley Grant Howard stole more than A$1.8m (£1.1m, $1.4m, €1.2m) from clients and was found by Asic to have preyed on older, more vulnerable people.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (Asic) said that Howard provided financial services when he was not licenced or authorised to do so. He also engaged in dishonest conduct, falsely claimed that the trading he was carrying out was authorised, and engaged in conduct that was “likely to mislead”.
John Price, Asic commissioner, said: “Asic will take action to remove persons from the financial services industry to protect the public. Mr Howard’s conduct was particularly bad in that, on occasions, he preyed on elderly and vulnerable people.”
Tin and gem stones
Howard came to the attention of Asic in 2014 when he was investigated, along with others, in connection with the misappropriation of funds from the IPO of Elsmore Resources Limited in 2013, where he was a director.
A prospectus from the time described Elsmore as a mining and exploration company in New South Wales focused on tin and gem stones.
John Gaffney, chairman of the now-delisted Elsmore Resources, told Australian news site SmartCompany, that the lifetime ban from providing financial services was “not enough” given the damage Howard had caused.
“He blatantly stole over a million dollars and created havoc for the company,” Gaffney said. “I’m still trying to clean up the mess.”
Elsmore has pursued legal action to recover the allegedly misappropriated funds from Howard and his associates, Periwinkle Investments Pty Ltd, HF Global Corporate Financial, and an individual named Harry Fung.
Asic added, however, that Howard is currently bankrupt making it difficult for the company to enforce the repayment action against him.