Hazel’s story; When a ‘Trusted Accountant’ loses your money

Hazel’s story is a true record of events that will be familiar to many readers. Conned by a trusted advisor to invest in a dud scheme that went bust.

Hazel’s story is a true record of events that will be familiar to many readers. Conned by a trusted advisor to invest in a dud scheme that went bust. Investment schemes vary with the promoters prepared to do whatever it takes to convince you that what they’re selling is going to be great.

With today’s low interest rates, its hardly surprising that investing outside of the safety of bank deposits is attractive, and usually it will be safe. However, make sure you get advice from someone reputable and make sure they have professional indemnity insurance to cover the advice they are providing.

“My husband and I engaged an accountant to do a tax return for us because we had a tax-free overseas income and expected a large tax bill. Unprompted, the Accountant recommended that we invest in a forestry plantation scheme as a way of avoiding tax. He showed us a brochure and spent some time talking to us about the reliability of the scheme and the various benefits of it.

We decided to go ahead because we trusted our accountant to firstly know what he’s doing and secondly to look after our interests.

I think it was about seven years later that we realised there was a problem with the investment. There had been a number of issues relating to the trees themselves as well as the prospects of selling them for a profit. Eventually, the scheme was liquidated, and we lost everything.

We never had any contact from Craig X, the accountant who recommended the scheme. He has never contacted us about it.

I believe we made the investment only because we trusted the judgement of our accountant – we had never considered this type of investment before.

It was so frustrating! Some investors went to court to try and get some of their money back. We were asked to support it financially, which we did. A great deal of time, effort, stress and money went into that court case, but it was fruitless. The money was gone. I wish I knew back then what I now know now about my legal options when you get bad advice.

I realise now that Craig X was likely receiving a commission from the forestry scheme. Clearly there was a conflict of interest here and we were the losers.

I would be very reluctant to trust the advice of an accountant again and I think it damages the reputation of the whole industry”.

Hazel’s story is only too familiar.  Solvers asked Hazel why she didn’t take legal action against the Accountant.  “You can do that?”

Yes, you can – call Solvers to find out how.

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Any or all of these reasons for business owners with a Pty Ltd company who:

  • have closed or are likely to close their business without any money left 
  • cannot afford $15,000 but want to place their company into liquidation  
  • want to do the right thing and inform their creditors properly about the business closing down 
  • want to draw a line in the sand so they can get on with their future.

If you have personal assets you want to protect, like a family home or director’s guarantees, this may not be for you, but you should ask us.

Cheryl Stainsby

Cheryl is a Director’s Advocate specialising in Crisis Management; Business Health Checks, Asset Protection and Exit Strategy  Find out more or Email Cheryl.

Niall Coburn

Niall Coburn

Niall is a Litigator, Prosecutor and Corporate Investigator. Find out more or Email Niall.

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Bruce Pasetti

Bruce Pasetti is the ‘go-to’ for actions for Windup (or to defend companies and directors against similar actions). Bruce is a Solicitor with over 20 years legal and specialist Insolvency experience. Find our more or Email Bruce.

Stuart Craig

Stuart is a Business Transformation Specialist and Certified Practicing Accountant, specialising in business turnaround and restructure, business management and business ownership transfer. Find out more or Email Stuart.

James Flaherty

James Flaherty

James is a business consultant and accountant. He specialises in sales and marketing for the business and finance sectors. Find out more or Email James.


Ginette Muller

Ginette is a Business Crisis Advisor and Accountant specialising in Safe Harbour, refinancing, litigation funding, restructure and business crisis advice. Find out more or  Email Ginette.