A 41-year-old ex-financial planner, who allegedly misappropriated a total of AU$8.4 million from the investment accounts of 33 of his clients, has backed the gambling reform bill of Andrew Wilkie that is seeking to make companies take responsibility for stolen money.
The entire amount has been lost, as Gavin Fineff gambled it away by placing some massive bets with some of the most popular Australian gambling operators.
The beginning of the week saw Mr Fineff join the Independent Tasmanian Member of Parliament and long-time anti-gambling advocate Andrew Wilkie in a campaign aimed at changing the law to make betting operators more responsible for the negative consequences of offering their services. The former financial planner backed Mr Wilkie at the time he introduced a bill aimed at making gambling companies liable in case a gambler uses stolen funds to place a bet with them.
Under the provisions of the piece of legislation called the “Making Gambling Businesses Accountable” bill, the gambling firms would be required to compensate the victim of the theft. According to the sponsor and the bill and Mr Fineff, betting companies are only looking for making a profit and often turn a blind eye on the source of money gamblers usе in their accounts.
Gambling Firms Turn a Blind Eye on Source of Gamblers’ Money, Bill’s Sponsor Says
As Andrew Wilkie MP revealed, his bill would put a positive obligation on gambling firms to address the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and report any transactions that are suspected of being involved with stolen funds. Under the provisions of the bill, the Federal Court would be given the right to make orders against gambling operators to pay back stolen money used in such transactions.
The proposed bill is to amend the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act. In it, the definition of “stolen property” is the same as the one used in the country’s Criminal Code.
The sponsor of the new piece of legislation has blamed gambling companies for their lack of consciousness, as they have been accepting transactions, including some large ones, without really asking where the money came from. Mr Wilkie, who has been heading anti-gambling campaigns for years, is urging both the Federal Government and the Opposition to back his bill, as he believes cross-bench support is very important.
The “Making Gambling Businesses Accountable” bill is seeking to provide a legal mechanism that would make sure that gambling businesses are to return stolen money to victims. Mr Wilkie said that gambling operators should not and can not be allowed to take advantage of the proceeds of crime.
According to a recent study that the Journal of Gambling Studies published, three out of five individuals who have been treated for gambling addiction confirmed they had stolen money to fund their compulsive gambling habit at least once. Currently, addiction to gambling is officially classified as a mental disorder in the country.