‘Punch in the stomach’: Kloogh pays 2.5c in $1

People whose savings were stolen by convicted fraudster Barry Kloogh will likely only get back 2.5 cents of every dollar they took from them.

Kloogh, jailed in July 2020 for eight years and 10 months on multiple fraud and theft charges, ran a Ponzi scheme that embezzled at least $15 million from those who trusted the registered financial adviser with the money they had set aside for their future.

The semi-annual report from the official assignee of Kloogh’s companies was released yesterday and provides the first official assessment of how little stolen money they could recover.

The report confirmed that frozen profits from a real estate deal made by Kloogh just before the Serious Fraud Office raided his office in 2019 – $455,442, plus interest – would be pursued by the liquidator and that court documents had been deposited.

The majority of funds that enabled equity in the property came from funds stolen from investors, according to the report.

“It is hoped that the case can be settled without a formal court hearing, and if funds are received…the official assignee will review and investigate the claims of the investors.

“Even if the funds exceed $455,442, the total amount of loss for all investors is about $15,000,000. Therefore, after costs, the expected return for investors will only be about 2.5 cents for a dollar.”

The identities of most of the hundreds of people Kloogh robbed have been suppressed by the courts.

One investor said while they expected to get little or nothing in return, it still felt like a punch in the stomach to see this fact in print.

“I just hope he’s sitting there contemplating the end of his crime,” said another investor.

Karyn Churcher, whose late husband’s life insurance payout was stolen by Kloogh, said the news was disappointing and investors were still considering all options.

“Any news is hard to absorb because it brings it back again.”

The report confirmed that the official assignee was still considering suing investors who may have unwittingly been paid with money stolen from Kloogh.

“An analysis of the movement of money between the accounts of the company, a related company and the personal accounts of director Barry Kloogh is almost complete.

“Other than funds held in trust…this disclosed no realizable assets or means of recovery of any voidable insolvent transactions,” the report said.

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