Pregnant financial adviser jailed

A NOOSA financial adviser will give birth to her miracle baby behind bars after being jailed for at least six months for misusing about $1.5 million of her clients' money.

Tania Michele Oakley, 38, pleaded guilty in Maroochydore District Court yesterday to three charges stemming from her business dealings between 2007 and 2010.

In an unusual twist not seen before by many in the court, two former clients who together lost about $1.15 million wrote references in support of Oakley.

One of them even flew back from Europe to support her in court.

Oakley was a successful self-taught share trader who later tutored at the Australian College of Financial Services.

It was here that students asked her to invest money for them, a practice that grew as word spread about her skills, and eventually led to her starting her own financial advice business Tanoak Pty Ltd.

Defence counsel Jeff Hunter told the court that the scheme was always intended to be operated lawfully.

"This wasn't a scam where she was trying to induce vulnerable people to contribute money," Mr Hunter said.

"On the contrary, people were coming to her asking her to invest money.

"She was making significant profits until it all came to an abrupt end."

Oakley's firm was quite successful. One risky trade in August, 2008, soon after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, generated an impressive return of $5.1 million.

Oakley was charged, however, that in 2007 she transferred some $783,000 from her clients' investment accounts into her private account, which she subsequently used to pay cash for a Noosaville house.

She later took out a loan of $480,000 which she returned to the investment account.

She was also charged that between mid 2009 and late 2010, when the investment accounts were losing money, she wrote to 11 investors to falsely advise them that the investments were strong and were earning interest.

The court heard Oakley believed at the time that she would be able to trade out of the predicament.

She was also charged with providing financial advice without a licence.

The court heard that Oakley lost the will to continue trading after two failed attempts at IVF.

However, her clients who recognised her skills urged her to continue.

She had admitted to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission that she realised she needed a licence but said that she intended to stop trading.

Despite this, she still continued to take money for services, including $700,000 from one client.

Judge John Robertson sentenced Oakley to two years in jail, to be released after serving six months.

Oakley fell pregnant naturally before being formally charged with the offences in May.

Her baby is due next month.

It is understood that as a result of pleading guilty to the charges, she will be allowed to care for the baby herself in prison.

Topics:  crime jail maroochydore district court noosa

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