Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, will join former financial adviser Gavin Fineff, who stole millions from his clients to gamble, to call for laws to force gambling companies to pay back stolen money.
Mr Wilkie this morning tabled the Making Gambling Businesses Accountable Bill in Federal Parliament. His Private Members Bill was developed after hearing Gavin’s story and would prevent gambling companies from profiting from stolen money. The Federal Court would be able to order a gambling company to return stolen money to victims like Gavin’s clients.
“Gambling companies cannot be allowed to profit from the proceeds of crime. Here’s a bloke willing to put himself in jail by confessing to crimes in order to help his victims get their money back. The gambling companies were not innocent here, they engaged in predatory behaviour to keep Gavin gambling and dragged their feet on questioning where the millions were coming from,” Mr Wilkie said.
Mr Fineff acknowledges that he has done the wrong thing and is trying to make amends for his actions.
“The fact is, I lost $8.4m in less than 4 years and most of that was other people’s money,” Mr Fineff said. “It belonged to 33 beautiful people, 35 if you include the money I took from my daughter and son as well. Not one of these people authorised the use of their money for my gambling, it was all used without their consent or knowledge. These matters are the focus of a criminal investigation by the North Shore Police Area Command, which I support. My actions were horrible, and I accept the punishment from authorities.”
Mr Wilkie said that the gambling companies must return the stolen money to the victims.
“Gavin was a financial advisor and can account for every dollar he gambled. This money must be returned to his victims,” Mr Wilkie said. “If we are to reduce the harm caused by gambling addiction we must find a remedy for the innocent victims of gambling fraud. Whether it is investors, in Gavin’s case, or the small business person whose cash box was raided, or the local bowls club.
“We must have a mechanism in place to repair the damage that results from gambling addiction and protect the innocent. If you buy a stolen car you have to give it back. The same should go for gambling companies returning stolen cash.”
A full statement from Mr Fineff can be read here.