A media release from ASIC today hints at a history that needs looking into. Reading around Australian media for almost the past decade, a picture develops.
Several years ago, ASIC started to look into McCabe and his companies, in part because it could not find out exactly when they had started to attract customers to schemes had set up promising high returns and special arrangements with major, global, investment banks.
The companies were advertised on TV and in airline magazines with a profile/interview piece in a Qantas in-flight magazine. That article, we read, was subject to a request for retraction by the writer after a racially offensive tweet appeared in a twitter account that McCabe later denied any connection with saying "I never had the Twitter carriage service you refer to,” when approached by The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald. It was, apparently, an account for Guevara Capital.
In 2020 he was made bankrupt, apparently over unpaid legal fees and, according to reports, when he applied to be discharged in 2021, the receiver objected saying that there was a suspicion that full information had not been given.
The allegations are of a type of fraud that would become almost endemic: online trading accounts. Customers were given training and then online access to a trading platform.
In 2022 ASIC issued a single charge of fraud and, because McCabe had been splitting his time before Singapore and Sydney, were granted a travel ban in the Civil Federal Court. He had to surrender his passport.
According to ASIC, the platforms appeared to execute trades but actually did nothing but create that impression. ASIC said that what actually happened was that McCabe created demonstration or test accounts and gave customers access to those. Then, when they transferred money to what they thought was their trading account, he simply stole it.
After the announcement of ASIC's action, McCabe told the Age "“I haven’t actually spoken to ASIC about this. "
Today, McCabe appeared in the Downing Centre Court in Sydney charged with eight counts of fraud. He had been bailed to 9th May. On that day, the original charge will be withdrawn.
The charges are under the Crimes Act (New South Wales) and each charge carries, on conviction, a maximum jail sentence of ten years and a fine plus, of course, confiscation.
ASIC has protected funds with freezing orders but whether it's enough to make good the estimated AUD940,350 that McCabe is accused of taking remains to be seen.