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Jail term secured for 'callous' crook but ASIC still seeks Silver bullet

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The man behind a Ponzi scheme that targeted elderly people, including a 97-year-old nursing home resident with advanced dementia who was signed up to a 30-year mortgage, has finally been sentenced to eight years’ jail and will be eligible for parole in two years.

Bradley Silver was convicted on Friday, more than seven years after the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) became aware of the property scams he ran in cahoots with a Westpac employee.

ASIC chairman James Shipton Credit:James Alcock

That should be a clarion call for the Morrison government - and James Shipton at ASIC - to fix a system that takes too long to get a scalp.

When it does, too often, the punishment meted out is far less than that of blue-collar crime. In Silver’s case, some of his victims died waiting for justice.

In a press release, ASIC said investigations into companies involved in the scheme were ongoing. It raises the question of how long is too long?

It is heartening that Silver received a jail sentence, given too many slip through the cracks, but considering the havoc he wreaked on people's lives, it is hard to feel sorry for him.

Callous manipulation and deception

As Brisbane District Court judge Deborah Richards said when she handed down the sentence, the scheme involved "calculated dishonesty" and noted his use of "callous manipulation and deception".

It should be seen as both a win and a wake-up call for ASIC. It should consider why the investigation took so long, particularly in a post-royal commission climate where it has promised to be more strategic and adopt a........

© The Age