He’s a singing, dancing, self-declared genius, but to his victims, Gabriel Nakhl is a serial liar.
And now the truth is out and it’s not good for this formal financial advisor.
Following a thorough ASIC investigation, the 38-year-old pleaded guilty to dishonestly dealing with millions of dollars belonging to clients who trusted him with their life savings.
“You can’t believe him, you can’t trust him,” says Annette Gadsby.
She and her husband Andrew were on the verge of retirement when they met Gabriel Nakhl, who had been recommended to them by friends.
When asked how much money Nakhl took from them, she said it was “roughly around $200,000.”
“And how much of that did you get back?” asked our reporter Sylvia Jeffreys.
“None, none at all, nothing,” Annette replied.
Their superannuation was never returned because Nakhl used it to pay other clients and his own bills.
Annette explains why they didn’t suspect anything was wrong: “Andrew was very sick and when it all happened and he was having chemo, and my father had passed away.”
The Gadsby’s are among 12 innocent investors who lost a total of $5,121,000 between 2009 and 2013 as a result of Gabriel Nakhl’s shady service.
Some of his clients have been forced back to work in their 70s, when they should be enjoying their hard-earned retirement.
The ASIC team, led by Simon Moran, spent thousands of hours combing through Nakhl’s crimes.
“These were very serious crimes committed by Nakhl,” he said.
“For starters, you need very clear statements from the investors themselves, that’s of course a difficult process because these people have been damaged emotionally as well as financially, we then have to work out the money trail.”
So where did all the money go?
The court heard Nakhl used his clients’ money as his own, spending it on personal credit card bills and trading accounts, investment properties and his other businesses.
He also shifted cash between client accounts and made high-risk investments without their knowledge.
All the while reassuring them that their nest eggs were growing.
In court, three videos of Nakhl were played which he had recorded himself and sent to his clients.
In one video he said, “the growth has been exponential since the beginning and it’s great.”
And in another, “okay any problems, give me a call but so far so good, you’ll get your next report soon but I’m very happy and I’m impressed with myself as always.”
“He acted very much like he cared about his clients,” said Annette.
Nakhl certainly has a way with words, flaunting himself online as a linguist, a scientist and even an autistic genius.
He brazenly sought publicity around his diagnosis even after pleading guilty. In court, Nakhl’s mental condition was raised in his defence, but in sentencing, the judge described his behaviour as “coordinated, deliberate and manipulative”.
“I don’t think he could have done what he did without knowing what he was doing,” Annette said.
“As time goes on and with the court case, you realise he took the money and did whatever he wanted.”
Always the showman, Gabriel Nakhl had his camera rolling as he arrived at court to be sentenced, and also filmed Jeffreys when she tried to get answers out of him.
He refused to answer any of her questions, instead ignoring her and later addressing them in an online video. “Right there, she’s already said something false” he claimed.
A reminder that he admitted to the crimes in court.
Nakhl will spend at least six years behind bars, the longest jail term ever given to a financial advisor in Australia.
© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2019