An ASIC sting resulted in four people facing charges brought by the Commonwealth director of public prosecutions in the Brisbane Magistrates Court last week for giving investment advice without a licence.

The four named as Marianna Casella, Peter Stokes, Anton Vilenica and Ken McDowell together raised $275,000 from unwitting investors after promising returns of up to 200 per cent in 30 to 85 days for the initial capital-guaranteed outlay. To date investors have not received the promised interest payments or had their capital returned. No details about the name or nature of the investment are yet available. Both Stokes and McDowell operated as accountants while Cassella and Vilenica acted on the fringes of the financial services industry and were described by ASIC as running “a small finance brokerage consultancy” and “a self-employed financial consultant” respectively. The case was adjourned to April 7 this year.

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