The Final Impact.


Published on Apr 3, 2013

The Trio Capital fraud is said to be the largest incident of public superannuation fraud in Australia's history. Countless people lost the money they had set aside for retirement. Amongst them are Albion Park's Colin and Linda Atkins who believe they have been hit particularly hard. Unable to work, the couple is struggling. They talked to us about kind of impact it is all having on them.

 The Human Cost of TRIO Scandal

North Shore Private Hospital – Sydney 13th July 2012


 The Human Cost of TRIO Scandal

North Shore Private Hospital – Sydney

Doug Fowler recorded 13th July 2012

Camera view: Doug in hospital bed suffering great pain with only days to live.

Interviewer: What do you think of TRIO Doug?

DF: It’s an absolute disgrace what’s happened to us. There are people worse off than me who lost their homes; well that’s what I thought, until I was recently diagnosed with stomach cancer. Which some in the medical profession suggest can be caused by stress. The Trio affair has certainly given me a lot of that. This is a disgrace that I am now going within 2 to 3 weeks I will be dead. My wife will be struggling and I think it is absolutely criminal that ASIC and APRA – who had done some investigation – didn’t follow it through.

People who went through retailed funds; I understand all that (Doug sweeps his hand in dismissive gesture). They got compensation. But the government didn’t pay for that. The other people who put money into the super fund (they didn’t know it) but they had been paying a part of the money they pay in to the fund actually used without their knowledge of course.

To make the compensation if something goes bad. For the Hon Bill Shorten to say on television and several times that it is really our fault because we didn’t bath between the flags. But we were bathing between the flags, but nobody patrolled the beach. For God sake they put the flags in there and suppose to regulate it and obviously didn’t.

So really on that basis alone and I see recently the very good new chief of ASIC – Medcraft who I think seems to be doing a good job but when they want to mail out to

350 thousand or 3.5 million people suggesting a warning that they got to be careful where they put their money in. We all know that! Most of those 3.5 million (or how

ever many) most of them don’t have super anyway. So that money would be better spent in chasing and paying compensation to those of us who invested in the same

fraud ….. same fraud we invested in as the ones who got compensated.

It is morally and ethically wrong. Surely. And I just can’t understand.

Interviewer: How much did you lose Doug?

DF: 1.48m. Since then off coarse I’ve have missed out on income so we were getting well over $100,000.00 a year and not bitting into our principle. It would be now 1.8m


Interviewer: How long did it take you to accumulate that?

DF: Well my wife and I started off after our marriage with 70 pounds to our name. No house. No car. Just 70 pounds and a flat in Brisbane. Then worked all my life with

my wife’s help till 76. We sold our business at the age of 76. That was in December 2005. Fortunately some of the more recent money that came to us we didn’t put through Trio. Of coarse Paul Gresham who we had known for over 20 years and he was getting good results for us. We were happy with him, quite friendly. But then obviously he got tied up with some crooks. He was a crook himself because we now know in recent years he’s been making up monthly reports. We’ve been getting all the bullshit he was writing to us in our reports each month. All of that, he was involved in the fraud earlier on.

Interviewer: What do you think the government should do?

DF: The government should No1 pay compensation to my wife – my fund and also to all of the people who invested and many who have lost their homes. One I know who

had heart problems, triple by past or something. It is pretty well known these things can be brought on by stress.

The other thing is: rather than ban Paul Gresham for financial involvement for the rest of his career, he should be in jail. For the other guy, Shawn Richard to get a few years (dismissive hand gesture) who will get out early obviously is disgraceful.

Bet-your-life they got money invested overseas salted away somewhere. Gresham could go over to Hong Kong and get tired up with that other bastard (Doug ponders a

moment--we know he refers to Jack Flader) and do the same thing again.

As Shorten and others have said and Greg Matcraft said, it is going to happen again in the future. Well these people, the lesson has not been demonstrated.

Interviewer: How has the Trio situation and your loss affected your health and stress levels?

DF: Oh enormously. My wife and I woke up, we wake up in the middle of the night trying to console ourselves with the fact that our health was at that stage was reasonable so that’s more important than money.

Ha-ha well after you worked all of your life this is just downright unfair that we should loose it through the neglect of government regulators. If you read as I have what ASIC’s charter is, what APRA’s charter is – I cannot see how they can’t be held accountable. Cannot see it.

Interviewer: What’s your situation now? Your health and outlook?

DF: This morning I was told I have 2 to 3 weeks to live. I am in great pain. I’ve got completely obstructed bowl. They are just going to try and make me comfortable.

I would like to die at home. Just starting to make the arrangements for my funeral. We have to hurry up because we thought we would have weeks or months or years – that’s not going to happen. All due to the stress. I was as fit as a fiddle. I was playing tennis every month, playing golf every week, walking nearly everyday. Then suddenly I get this stomach cancer diagnosed. In March this year.

I’ve got files at home, binders and binders, every press cutting that turned out about this so it has been constantly in our minds; all the time. I’ve been active together with the committee. I’ve put in submissions to the St John Review. I put submissions into the parliamentary joint inquiry. I went to every joint inquiry. Offcourse – every time you go there you get stressed out anyway. Because stories you hear of others as well as yourself. If that’s not stressful – I don’t know what is.

Interviewer: If you were able to say something to Bill Shorten what would you like to say?

DF: Please Mr Shorten I’ve got admiration for your abilities, you got the power. I put a suggestion forward that it was well published the fact that the ATO suddenly found

people who they were fining for putting too much money into their super. Fines came to over a couple year period came to about 320m. They didn’t expect that.

They said that would increase over next couple of years. Because that money came from people putting money into superannuation, why should that just go into the government coffers and through ATO ?

Why not use that money. The commonwealth government budget is in all kinds of trouble – we all know that.

They’re trying to do something about but here’s money they didn’t expect so that wouldn’t upset the budget.