Justice Peter Garling said the dishonest conduct, which led to Australian investors losing a “staggering” $26.
6 million, only came to light when the Trio Capital Group failed.
He said the now bankrupt 36-year-old, who received $1.3 million in secret payments, was motivated by greed.
“Mr Richard is guilty of serious crimes of a high order,” the judge said on Friday in the NSW Supreme Court.
The former director of Astarra Asset Management Pty Ltd and other Trio Capital Group companies pleaded guilty to two counts of
dishonest conduct between November 2005 and September 2009.
The scheme involved diverting Australian investors’ money from superannuation and managed investment funds into overseas hedge
funds in return for significant undisclosed payments.
The funds, located in tax havens in the Caribbean, were of “questionable value and were wholly inappropriate superannuation
investments”, the judge said.
Richard, who was paid a net annual salary of over $110,000, obtained “a significant financial benefit for himself”.
As well as personally receiving $1.3 million, the company of which he was a director received $5.3 million.
The judge accepted that a US citizen based in Hong Kong, Jack Flader, was the architect and ultimate controller of the scheme and
Richard may have been somewhat naive and gullible at the beginning.
But this changed and “his conduct bespeaks intentional and knowing participation in criminality over a long period for substantial personal gain”.
His role was pivotal and the offences “involved active concealment and misleading conduct on Mr Richard’s part in order to disguise the true nature of the transaction”.
The judge accepted that Richard, a Canadian citizen with Australian residency, had shown significant contrition.
He gave Richard a 37.5 per cent discount on his sentence for his guilty plea and his assistance to authorities.
He also noted the importance of general deterrence as a factor in sentencing for white collar crimes of this kind.
“Superannuation monies represent the savings of individual members of the community which are intended to provide a secure retirement fund,” he said.
“The need for honesty in dealing with superannuation funds is self-evident.”
After Richard serves his jail term, he will be subject to a 15-month good behaviour bond and if he breaches it, could return to prison.