THE PROPERTY FINANCE COMPANY SCAMS

The impression was one of complete safety

There are few sights more heart breaking than to see people losing their life's savings. In the past five years, tens of thousands of Australians (many retired or on the brink of retirement) have, collectively, lost hundreds of millions of dollars through investing in what they thought (and were told) were safe and low/no risk investment deposit schemes.

In the blink of an eye, many people went from living a comfortable retirement to joining the queue at Centrelink. Almost all of them were financially and emotionally devastated. Families were torn apart. Some people committed suicide. It was a national disaster. It still is.

These scams began with an offer to invest in what appeared to be (and was claimed to be) a safe investment with a company in the property industry. The investment offers were almost always touted as "secure" or "guaranteed".

The impression was one of complete safety.

The offers came by way of recommendation from financial planners or impressive looking advertisements in major newspapers or trusted financial magazines. The ads would often feature smiling grey-haired couples walking along a beach. Headlines in the ads would talk about being able to "sleep easily" knowing that the investment was safe and was earning a good return. In reality, it was always a mirage. These were high-risk investments in dodgy companies, often run by some seriously dodgy characters.

In some cases, the offer to invest in these companies was made on radio; a favourite and big name commentator often became the voice that lured thousands of trusting investors.

Almost all the investors were seeking security as a priority. Few of them were greedy. Indeed, most shunned the stock markets or traditional property investing. They were careful and conservative people. The best way to describe most of these investors would be 'down to earth' and decent people - the 'salt of the earth' types.

And that's what makes these sorts of scams all the more tragic. The best and most decent people became the nation's biggest financial losers.

For years, Neil Jenman (with the help of well-known consumer advocate, Denise Brailey) warned the public that these property companies were not only unsafe, they were destined for disaster.

Unfortunately, these companies were very hard to stop. With the millions of dollars that they raked in, they could hire expensive lawyers to design elaborate schemes and to thwart any attempts to stop them. Legally, they would often pounce on any critics.

Despite the risks, in some cases, Neil Jenman was the only person to publicly issue permanent warnings about specific companies.

Neil's articles and comments were often the only source of warning on-line for investors. Many people were saved by Neil's comments; but many more missed his warnings and, sadly, lost their life's savings. The promotional power of these companies was enormous.

FOOTNOTE: Due to the hundreds of millions of dollars that has been lost and, obviously, the large amount of publicity that always follows any disaster, these property finance companies are now finding it much harder to raise funds from the public. They are no longer allowed to place such blatantly misleading advertisements.

Incredibly, however, all the directors of these companies are still at large. Neil Jenman believes that many of them should be in jail. With such strong opinions, it's little wonder that the directors of these companies are not fans of Neil Jenman.