Social media “finfluencer” Tyson Robert Scholz, known as “ASX Wolf” on social media, has been threatened with jail time if he attempts to charge for financial and share trading advice following a ban by the Federal Court.
In December, Justice Kylie Downes found that Scholz had illegally run a financial service business between March 2020 and November 2021, in breach of the Corporations Act.
The 37-year-old, who pictured himself on Instagram with the trappings of wealth, including fast cars, and luxury items, was taken to court by regulator ASIC, which alleged he’d made more than $1 million charging between $500 and $1500 to subscribers for share trading courses.
A $1000 “stage 2” package gave users a year of access to a private chat site, named ‘Black Wolf Pit’, using the Discord chat platform.
This week Justice Downes of the Federal Court in Brisbane handed down a permanent injunctions against Sholz, which prohibits him from hosting online groups where a membership fee is charged, and in which messages are exchanged by members about share trades – either in a group chat or direct messages from Scholz – without an Australian Financial Services Licence.
Contravening the ban could lead to his imprisonment, bankruptcy and/or the seizure of property, Justice Downes warned, with anyone who assists him facing the same penalties.
ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court said financial services laws exist for the protection of investors.
“ASIC sought permanent injunctions in this case because the people who paid Mr Scholz to access private online forums where he made recommendations about shares, as well as those people who purchased shares based on these recommendations, did not have the benefit of these protections,” he said.
“Anyone who recommends financial products or provides financial advice on social media must ensure they are complying with the law and may face ASIC enforcement action when they are not.”
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