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Consumer Protection is warning Western Australians not to deal with Gerardus (Gerry) Hermanus Jorissen who has sent at least $200,000 of other people’s money to overseas criminals under the guise of an investment scheme.
Mr Jorissen who lives in Moora, came to the attention of authorities in 2013 as a possible fraud victim identified by Project Sunbird – an anti-fraud initiative run collaboratively by WA Police Major Fraud Squad and Consumer Protection.
Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard says despite repeated warnings from law enforcement agencies Mr Jorissen won’t stop dragging other members of the community into the bogus scheme, leaving them out of pocket.
“Mr Jorissen claims he has been sending money to the United Kingdom in the hope of receiving millions of dollars, supposedly owed to him as a return for an investment he made in the 1980s or 1990s,” Mr Hillyard said.
“After exhausting personal funds, he and his wife began to seek financial help from the community, even advertising in the newspaper, and were giving out worthless pieces of paper titled as ‘investment certificates’.
“However, in June 2013 Mr Jorissen and his wife Anne entered into a Court enforceable undertaking with Consumer Protection that prevents them from taking money from third parties to send to the overseas-based criminals who are defrauding him.”
Mr Jorissen went on to breach that undertaking, resulting in Supreme Court action by Consumer Protection in August 2014. Consent orders were handed down preventing Mr Jorissen from soliciting or accepting funds from third parties to send overseas. New allegations of Mr Jorissen soliciting funds came to light in early 2015.
“WA Police Major Fraud Squad has advised of two fresh complainants and that Mr Jorissen now believes he is communicating with banking and legal professionals in America in relation to this bogus story of an outstanding investment pay-out owed to him,” Mr Hillyard said.
“It is clear that despite intervention, including visits from Detectives, meetings with senior Consumer Protection officers and agreeing to a Court enforceable undertaking not to take money from third parties, that Mr Jorissen is still doing so. We are now viewing this from the perspective that he is wilfully and neglectfully victimising others and is a perpetrator. The growing level of consumer detriment and financial risk to the community is why we have resorted to a public naming.
“Our message is simple: DO NOT give money to Mr Jorissen or his wife. If you do, you will lose it for good because Mr Jorissen is caught up in an investment fraud and sends any money he can get his hands on to criminals who are offshore.”
Investment fraud is a big issue in Western Australia, according to Consumer Protection’s figures. In 2014, 26 victims reported losing more than $2.6 million between them – an average loss of more than $100,000 each. So far in 2015, 11 victims have reported losing about $275,000 between them – an average of more than $25,000 per person.
Anyone looking to invest should only do so through someone who holds an Australian Financial Services licence. This can be checked via the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) website www.asic.gov.au. Advice can also be found in the ‘Investment’ section of ASIC’s MoneySmart website: www.moneysmart.gov.au.
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