The Northern Territory news Sat 29 Jul 2017
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SATURDAY JULY 29 2017 NEWS 05 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA know soldiers, taking many out for lavish meals near military bases in Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and Townsville as he flogged deals to buy cheap housing catering for Government-subsidised low-income tenants, mainly in outer suburbs of Darwin. For some it has proved to be a disaster. Property values have plunged, properties have gone without tenants for lengthy periods and there have been delays of up to two years in receiving substantial government subsidies that Mr Ochremienko said would make their investments cashflow positive. Many soldiers are struggling to meet their mortgage repayments but cannot sell because property values are so low. But the deals were a winner for Mr Ochremienko, who said he netted an average fee of $20,000 per property from developers while NAB paid him a commission of 0.4 per cent of any loan. NT News tracked Mr Ochremienko to the Gold Coast, where he denied his clients were in the red. Some of these people are perceived to have lost money, he said. But have they really? Im saying no. Mr Ochremienko, who has not been licensed to offer financial advice since 2008, denied any wrongdoing. He said that while he financially plans his clients, his advice was general in nature and did not require a licence to be dispensed by him.. He likened himself to a GP who refers patients to specialists depending on need. Federal MP Andrew Hastie formerly of the SASR said some of his Diggers had invested and now felt ripped off and misled. He pitched himself as a wealth creator and did the exact opposite, Mr Hastie told News Corp Australia. Mr Ochremienko had used his former military service as a way to connect with the soldiers and convince them to invest, Mr Hastie said. He claimed to be able to make their pay slip work for them; that he knew the system well so he could help them create wealth, he said. One soldier wrote a detailed letter to his local MP, Justice Minister Michael Keenan, in Perth, listing concerns about a development in Darwin, the performance of the property managers, and the advice given to him by his buyers agent Hugh Ochremienko. Its understood Mr Ochremienko faced questions from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission in 2010 after a complaint that he was giving financial advice without a licence. No further action was taken. Still, ASICs ire may again be raised by the revelations that some soldiers have sunk their super into property he recommended. While advice about investing in property generally does not require authorisation, it does if the purchase is via a self-managed super fund. An ASIC spokesman said: We would encourage anyone with concerns about a person providing such advice without the proper authorisations to report it to us. ADF HOUSING Darwin link in investment saga He (Mr Ochremienko) played on the trust and culture we have in the army Some soldiers, such as the man pictured above who did not want to publicly disclose his name, say they lost wealth after investing on advice from Mr Ochremienko, right Picture: DAVID CAIRD HOW THE DIGGERS LOST BIG Ochremienko gains the trust of soldiers by talking up his Navy service over expensive lunches The soldiers are often flush with taxfree cash after deployments to danger zones such as Afghanistan and Iraq Ochremienko vows to double their wealth within five years by tapping into generous National Rental Affordability Scheme subsidies Some clients end up buying via selfmanaged super funds into buildings such as Darwins troubled Zest complex Meanwhile, NRAS subsidies that are meant to make the investments pay for themselves get delayed Properties go untenanted. Values plunge Ochremienko says all these things were out of his control because he was not responsible for NRAS payments or getting properties rented He also says he didnt offer specific financial advice